CMU School of Drama

Monday, July 10, 2017

“Sweeny Todd” at Pittsburgh Festival Opera

The Pittsburgh Tatler: I’ve been a fan of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ever since I had the great good fortune to see the original Broadway production back in the late 1970s. I’ll never forget the way the loud shriek of the whistle at the beginning of the musical made me literally jump in my seat, nor how the tumbling of bodies from Sweeny’s barber chair into the chute that connected his tonsorium to Mrs. Lovett’s gruesome bake shop made me gape in astonishment. That’s a hard memory to compete against, I’ll admit; the show was over-the-top spectacular, using copious amounts of spurting blood, trap doors, and the whole panoply of special effects available to a big Broadway musical production to achieve its black comic effect.

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