The Story
Sweeney Todd
Music & Lyrics
STEPHEN SONDHEIM

Book
HUGH WHEELER
Subtitled "The Demon Barber of Fleet Street", this musical is based on the 19th century legend of Sweeney Todd and specifically upon the 1973 play The String of Pearls, by Christopher Bond. The story centers on the character of Sweeney Todd, formerly known as Benjamin Barker, who returns from the penal colonies in Australia, where he has spent fifteen years on false charges. When he learns from Mrs. Lovett, whose meat pies are the worst in London, that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by Judge Turpin (the man who wrongly imprisoned him), and that his daughter is the ward of the same Judge Turpin, he vows revenge. The two become conspirators in a dark plot that results in mass murder, booming business for Lovett's shop, and ultimately tragedy.

PHOTOS
Original Broadway Production
2005 Broadway Production
2012 London Production
2017 Off-Broadway Production
Artworks/ Posters

VIDEOS
Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton in a promotional video featuring excerpts from the 2012 London revival.

MUSIC
Worst Pies in London
Imelda Staunton
2012 London Cast Recording

THE STORY

ACT ONE

Anthony Hope rides a ship into London. Despite Hope's enthusiasm, his friend and shipmate Sweeney Todd is grim and uneasy. This mood is worsened by a half-mad Beggar Woman who begs from (then sexually solicits) both Anthony and Todd who is run off by Todd ("No Place Like London"). As they prepare to part, Todd tells a tragic story about a young and na?ve barber with a beautiful wife and the lustful judge who exiled him to covet her ("Barber and His Wife").

Todd finds his old apartment in a building above a meat-pie shop on Fleet Street, where he encounters the shop's proprietress, Mrs. Lovett. She complains about her competition, her own pitiful pies and her hard economic times ("Worst Pies in London"). She sings the sad tale of the upstairs apartment's previous tenant, a barber named Benjamin Barker, who had been falsely sentenced by the lecherous Judge Turpin and his corrupt cohort Beadle Bamford, because of the Judge's lust for Barker's wife Lucy. She reveals how, once Barker had been sent to Australia, the Judge had lured Lucy to his house and raped her. Afterwards, she poisoned herself and Barker's infant daughter, Johanna, became a ward of the Judge ("Poor Thing"). Mrs. Lovett quickly realizes that Sweeney is that same barber. She shows Todd his collection of sterling silver razors, which she has kept hidden for years, telling him that he can become a barber again ("My Friends" and "Ballad of Sweeney Todd: Lift Your Razor High, Sweeney!").

In the next scene, Anthony notices a girl singing at a window ("Green Finch and Linnet Bird" and "Ah, Miss"); the Beggar Woman from earlier tells him that the girl is Johanna, the Judge's ward. Antony is immediately smitten and pledges to woo her, but the Judge and Beadle threaten him off ("Johanna"). Meanwhile, in the crowded marketplace, renowned Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli and his drum-beating tout Tobias pitch a cure-all for hair loss ("Pirelli's Miracle Elixir"). Todd, after exposing the elixir as fraudulent, challenges Pirelli to a shaving competition and wins easily ("Contest"). Todd invites the Beadle, who acted (at Todd's suggestion) as the judge of the competition, to visit his parlor for a complimentary shave ("Ballad of Sweeney Todd: Sweeney Pondered and Sweeney Planned").

Later, as Todd impatiently waits for the Beadle's arrival, Mrs. Lovett urges patience ("Wait"), just as Pirelli and Tobias visit the shop. Mrs. Lovett takes Tobias downstairs for a meat pie, leaving Todd alone with Pirelli, who reveals that he has learned Todd's true identity and tries blackmail. Rather than pay Pirelli off, Todd attacks Pirelli and bludgeons him, dumping his body into an empty trunk just before Tobias enters looking for Pirelli. Todd sends Tobias back down to Mrs. Lovett, tempting him with the offer of another pie and "a nice big tot of gin", and once the door has shut behind Tobias, Todd opens the trunk and slits Pirelli's throat, finishing him off ("Ballad of Sweeney Todd: His Hands Were Quick, His Fingers Strong...").

Across town, Judge Turpin is tormented by his lust for his ward Johanna and announces to her that he intends to marry her ("Johanna" reprise). Disgusted by the prospect, Johanna and Anthony plot an elopement ("Kiss Me"), while at the same time the Beadle, accompanying his master (who has adjourned court after sentencing a child to death for a minor crime), suggests that the Judge visit Todd's barbershop to improve his appearance to better win Johanna's affections ("Ladies in Their Sensitivities"). Turpin agrees and visits Todd's shop, where an eager Todd prepares to exact his revenge ("Pretty Women"). Before he can kill Turpin however, Anthony barges in to tell Todd about his planned elopement with Johanna, accidentally informing the outraged Judge who curses Todd for conspiring against him before storming out of his parlor. Todd, in his fury, descends into utter madness and broadens the target of his vengeance to all of society ("Epiphany"). Mrs. Lovett concludes that Pirelli's body will not be Todd's last victim, and during a discussion with Todd about how to dispose of Pirelli's body has a sudden burst of inspiration and suggests they use the meat of Todd's victims in her pies ("A Little Priest").


ACT TWO

Mrs. Lovett's pie-shop has become a thriving business with its new menu ("God, That's Good!"), with enough money to hire Pirelli's old assistant, Tobias; the only fly in the ointment being the Beggar Woman who keeps hanging around the pie-shop. The new system between Todd and Mrs. Lovett and a specially-designed mechanized barber's chair allow Todd to kill someone (preferably a customer who'll never be missed) in his barber shop and send the body through a chute directly into the basement bakehouse of the pie-house. Anthony's fortunes are not so bright as Johanna has disappeared, and over the weeks he searches for her while Todd accustoms himself to the idea that he may never see Johanna again ("Johanna (Quartet)"). Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett dreams of a future life with Todd on the shore ("By the sea").

Anthony discovers the Judge has committed Johanna to an asylum and with Todd's help infiltrates the asylum as a wigmaker intent on purchasing inmates' hair ("Wigmaker Sequence" and "Ballad of Sweeney Todd: Sweeney Waited Too Long Before..."). Unknown to Anthony, Todd sends a letter to the judge notifying him of Anthony's intent to kidnap Johanna and her professed love for Turpin, hopeful of luring the judge to his shop ("Letter"). Meanwhile in the pie-shop, Tobias begins to suspect that Todd is up to no good ("Not While I'm Around"), and so Mrs. Lovett locks him in the bakehouse under the pretext of teaching him how to grind meat. As she leaves, she encounters the Beadle, commissioned by the neighbors to investigate the thick black smoke and strange smells from the pie-shop's chimney ("Parlor Songs"). Together, he and Mrs. Lovett wait for Todd, who arrives and offers Beadle the promised free shave. In the basement, Tobias is grinding meat when the bloody corpse of the Beadle tumbles down the chute. Horrified, he tries to escape but realizes that he is locked in. Upstairs, Mrs. Lovett informs Todd that Tobias has guessed everything and they head downstairs to dispose of him.

While Todd and Mrs. Lovett search the cellars for Tobias, who has vanished somehow, Anthony infiltrates the Asylum. He draws a pistol on Jonas Fogg, the owner of the asylum, but can't bring himself to shoot and drops the gun. Johanna grabs the gun and shoots Fogg dead, and they both flee to Todd's parlor with Johanna disguised in sailor's clothing. After Anthony leaves Johanna there to chart their escape, the Beggar Woman appears, and Johanna hides. Todd discovers the Beggar Woman in his parlor as she desperately tries to warn him about Mrs. Lovett. As Judge Turpin arrives, Todd frantically slits the Beggar Woman's throat and sends her down the chute before Turpin can see her. When Todd assures him that Johanna is totally repentant, the judge in lecherous expectation asks for a facial. Todd reveals his identity to the judge and slits his throat. As Todd leaves the parlor to kill Tobias, Johanna emerges from her hiding place. Todd catches her and thinking her a man is about to kill her as well when he hears Mrs. Lovett screaming from the bakehouse below. With Todd distracted for a moment, Johanna manages to escape and Todd races downstairs.

In the bakehouse, Mrs. Lovett struggles with the still-living Judge, who finally dies, before becoming distraught at the sight of the dead Beggar Woman. Todd bursts into the bakehouse and seeing the face of the Beggar Woman clearly in the light from the open oven doors, drops his razor in horror as he realizes that she is his wife Lucy, who he believed was dead. Todd furiously accuses Mrs. Lovett of deceiving him. Mrs. Lovett confesses the truth but insists that she never lied, that Lucy had indeed taken poison but it did not kill her; instead, it had driven her insane, and that Mrs. Lovett withheld the truth from Todd in order to spare him and because she loves him. Todd calms the very nervous and afraid Mrs. Lovett and begins to waltz with her, proclaiming his love for her and telling her that he forgives her. He waltzes her over to the huge oven and hurls her inside, slamming the doors shut. Todd sinks to the floor and cradles his beloved wife in his arms. Tobias, now driven completely insane and with his hair turned white from horror, enters and stumbles towards the tractable barber. When the grief-stricken Todd shoves him away, Tobias picks up Todd's fallen razor and fatally slashes Todd's throat. As Anthony, Johanna and some constables burst into the bakehouse, Tobias drops the razor and, unmindful of the others, begins to turn the handle for the meat grinder in a mindless parody of his duties for Mrs. Lovett ("Final Sequence" and "Ballad of Sweeney Todd: Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd...").

LIBRETTO

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CAST & CREATIVES
Creative
Direction BILL BUCKHURST
Choreography GEORGINA LAMB
Scenic & Costume Design SIMON KENNY
Lighting Design AMY MAE
Sound Design MATT STINE
Cast
Sweeney Todd JEREMY SECOMB
Mrs. Lovett SIOBHAN MCCARTHY
Judge Turpin DUNCAN SMITH
Anthony Hope MATT DOYLE
Johanna Barker ALEX FINKE
Tobias Ragg JOSEPH TAYLOR
Pirelli/Beggar Woman BETSY MORGAN
The Beadle BRAD OSCAR
Creative
Producer PLAYFUL PRODUCTIONS, ROBERT G. BARTNER, OLD VIC PRODUCTIONS, MATTHEW MITCHELL, ROGER BERLIND, DANIEL SPARROW AND MIKE WALSH PRODUCTIONS, JOSEPH SMITH/MICHAEL McCABE, PARNASSUS ENTERPRISES INC, CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE
Direction JONATHAN KENT
Choreography DENNI SAYERS
Scenic & Costume Design ANTHONY WARD
Lighting Design MARK HENDERSON
Sound Design PAUL GROOTHUIS
Cast
Sweeney Todd MICHAEL BALL
Mrs. Lovett IMELDA STAUNTON
Judge Turpin JOHN BOWE
Anthony Hope LUKE BRADY
Johanna Barker LUCY MAY BARKER
Tobias Ragg JAMES McCONVILLE
Pirelli ROBERT BURT
The Beadle PETER POLICARPOU
Beggar Woman GILLIAN KIRKPATRICK
Creative
Producer THOMAS VIERTEL, STEVEN BARUCH, MARC ROUTH, RICHARD FRANKEL, THE AMBASSADOR THEATER GROUP, ADAM KENWRIGHT, TUTCHIN/BARTNER/BAGERT
Direction JOHN DOYLE
Scenic Design JOHN DOYLE
Costume Design JOHN DOYLE
Lighting Design RICHARD G. JONES
Sound Design DAN MOSES SCHREIER
Cast
Sweeney Todd MICHAEL CERVERIS
Mrs. Lovett PATTI LuPONE
Judge Turpin MARK JACOBY
Anthony Hope BENJAMIN MAGNUSON
Johanna Barker LAUREN MOLINA
Tobias Ragg MANOEL FELICIANO
Pirelli DONNA LYNNE CHAMPLIN
The Beadle ALEXANDER GEMIGNANI
Beggar Woman DIANA DiMARZIO
Creative
Producer CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE
Direction SUSAN H. SCHULMAN
Musical Staging MICHAEL LICHTEFELD
Scenic Design JAMES MORGAN
Costume Design BEBA SHAMASH
Lighting Design MARY JO DONDLINGER
Cast
Sweeney Todd BOB GUNTON
Mrs. Lovett BETH FOWLER
Judge Turpin DAVID BARRON
Anthony Hope JIM WALTON
Johanna Barker GRETCHEN KINGSLEY
Tobias Ragg EDDIE KORBICH
Pirelli BILL NABEL
The Beadle MICHAEL McCARTHY
Beggar Woman SuELLEN ESTEY
Creative
Producer RICHARD BARR, CHARLES WOODWARD, ROBERT FRYER, MARY LEA JOHNSON, MARTIN RICHARDS
Direction HAROLD PRINCE
Musical Staging LARRY FULLER
Orchestrations JONATHAN TUNICK
Scenic Design EUGENE LEE
Costume Design FRANNE LEE
Lighting Design KEN BILLINGTON
Sound Design JACK MANN
Cast
Sweeney Todd LEN CARIOU
Mrs. Lovett ANGELA LANSBURY
Judge Turpin EDMUND LYNDECK
Anthony Hope VICTOR GARBER
Johanna Barker SARAH RICE
Tobias Ragg KEN JENNINGS
Pirelli JOAQUIN ROMAQUERA
The Beadle JACK ERIC WILLIAMS
Beggar Woman MERLE LOUISE
MUSICAL NUMBERS
ACT ONE

The Ballad of Sweeney ToddCompany
No Place Like LondonAnthony Hope, Sweeney Todd and Beggar Woman
The Barber and His WifeSweeney Todd
The Worst Pies In LondonMrs. Lovett
Poor ThingMrs. Lovett
My FriendsSweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett
Green Finch and Linnet BirdJohanna
Ah, MissAnthony Hope and Beggar Woman
JohannaAnthony Hope
Pirelli's Miracle ElixirTobias Ragg, Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Lovett and Company
The ContestPirelli
WaitMrs. Lovett
Kiss MeJohanna and Anthony Hope
Ladies in Their SensitivitiesThe Beadle
QuartetJohanna, Anthony Hope, The Beadle and Judge Turpin
Pretty Women Sweeney Todd and Judge Turpin
EpiphanySweeney Todd
A Little PriestSweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett


ACT ONE

God, That's Good!Tobias Ragg, Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd, Beggar Woman and Company
JohannaAnthony Hope, Sweeney Todd, Johanna and Beggar Woman
By the SeaMrs. Lovett
Not While I'm AroundTobias Ragg and Mrs. Lovett
Parlour SongsThe Beadle and Mrs. Lovett
City on FireJohanna, Anthony Hope and Company
Final SequenceAnthony Hope, Beggar Woman, Sweeney Todd, Judge Turpin, Mrs. Lovett, Johanna and Tobias Ragg
The Ballad of Sweeney ToddCompany

I Love My Wife
Marie Christine
The View Upstairs
SIGHTS & SOUNDS

Original Broadway Production
2005 Broadway Production
2012 London Production
2017 Off-Broadway Production
Artworks/ Posters

Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton in a promotional video featuring excerpts from the 2012 London revival.
Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone lead the 2005 Broadway revival cast in a medley of songs from the show at the Tony Awards.
Angela Lansbury of the original Broadway production in a performance of "Worst Pies in London" at the Tony Awards.

The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd Ensemble Original Broadway Cast Recording
Not While I'm Around Manoel Feliciano & Patti LuPone 2005 Broadway Cast Recording
Worst Pies in London Imelda Staunton 2012 London Cast Recording
danielwill danielwill
bradactor61 bradactor61
Smegan28 Smegan28
mchilde mchilde
rufieo1974 rufieo1974
nbellusci nbellusci

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