Sweeney Todd is one of two plays I've been involved in producing 3 times (the other is Secret Garden) It's dark and creepy and the music is tough. It's the first show Ben and I ever worked on together, and possibly the show that has tested my will and my sanity more than any other. It's Sondheim, and it's brilliant.
Back in the day we used to do a Halloween "in concert" production of it every year up at the Castle. It was absolutely the perfect setting for a show that dark. It was also REALLY bloody cold. We served hot cider and hot chocolate, and stuffed hand warmers in every possible crevice of our clothing, but there were still nights I thought I might freeze. And I wasn't sitting still on the stage for 2.5 hours!
It's been 3 years since we did this show. And every Halloween, I really miss it (at least in theory). So I was thrilled when I found out the Egyptian up in Park City was doing a production of it for Halloween this year. I was even more thrilled when I discovered that our dear friend Cecily had been cast as Johanna. She used a song from Sweeney as an audition piece for Secret Garden, and I have never ever heard it sung as well. In the end, it turned out we knew 3 other people in the show as well.
We knew we were going to have to go early in the run, before the baby made an appearance, so we decided last night was the night. Even though I had been having pretty strong contractions for almost 24 hours, we decided to brave the trip. (the tickets were a little bit pricey, after all).
I have to say, it was a really good production. There were a few people from our days at the castle that I really missed. . . mostly Marcie. Not that their Mrs. Lovett wasn't great. She was. . . but she wasn't Marcie. She couldn't sing it as well. I didn't love their judge, either, but their Beadle was the best I've seen. He hit notes that I've never heard a Beadle be able to hit, and it seemed completely effortless. A Tribune review claimed Cecily was miscast. . . I beg to differ. I thought she was wonderful. Unfortunately, I don't think the reviewer who wrote that had ever seen the show or heard the music. Johanna is meant to be very operatic. Something I can't say for Sweeney, but the actor that played him had plenty of vibrato as well (I liked their Sweeney, don't get me wrong). . .
I really enjoyed the production. It may just get me through the Tim Burton film later on this year. . . Maybe.
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