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Last updated on August 8th, 2023 at 08:41 am
Get your tickets ready because The Demon Barber is back on Fleet Street as the original Tony-award-winning production intended it to be for the first time since 1980 as Sweeney Todd Broadway takes over New York City this season. It’s the revamp of a musical that rivals the old Broadway musical favorites, including Wicked and Moulin Rouge! The Musical, and is sure to overshadow some of the newest shows such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Hamilton.
Arguably the most morbid production in the famed New York theater district, Sweeney Todd Broadway is full of brilliantly composed songs that will have you singing them for days after you’ve left. And considering many of them will be headed by the captivatingly flawless voice of the baritone/tenor Josh Groban, who dons the Sweeney Todd costume, it’s sure to be an experience that will live with you for years to come.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has been seen globally by audiences from Paris to Australia and even the Philippines, while the Tim Burton-directed film adaptation starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman brought the story to a whole new generation in 2007, but this is sure to be the best fans have ever seen.
The epic show officially opened at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Mar. 26, 2023, following a month of previews, and fans can still buy tickets through Jan. 24, 2024.
Here’s everything you need to know before you see the Sweeney Todd Musical on Broadway this season, including the Sweeney Todd Broadway cast, songs, and more.
Sweeney Todd Cast
The lineup of the Sweeney Todd Broadway cast is not lacking in all-star names in the principal roles for the 2023 season.
As previously mentioned, the show stars Josh Groban, a Tony and Grammy-nominated singer, who trades in his regular holiday hits and inspirational songs from “To Where You Are,” “Brave,” and “(Don’t Give Up) You Are Loved” to put on the pale face and crazy hair of the Sweeney Todd costume. We must admit, we love it, and reportedly Groban does, too.
Not long after the show’s premiere, the former star of Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 told the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, “I’ve loved the show since I was very, very little” and noting that he loves “to have the opportunity to give this show to people who’ve seen it 50 times … or who have never seen Sweeney Todd before.”
Standing beside Groban is Tony-award-winning actress and singer Annaleigh Ashford as Mrs. Lovett. Her previous Broadway credits include Legally Blonde (2007), for which she played Margot and was also the understudy for Laura Bell Bundy, who played Elle Woods, Glinda in Wicked (2007-2009), Lauren in Kinky Boots (2013-14), Essie Carmichael in You Can’t Take It with You (2014-15), for which she won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play and the title character in the 2015-16 production of Sylvia.
Gaten Matarazzo takes on the role of Tobias. At age 20, the young actor is already a veteran of the Broadway stage, having been featured in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert from 2011-12, and Les Misérables from 2014-2015. He made a name among young audiences when he was cast as Dustin Henderson in Netflix’s Stranger Things, a role he’s held since 2016, and, for which, he has been nominated for numerous awards.
Ruthie Ann Miles appears as the Beggar Woman, who turns out to be more than just a homeless woman on the street. The 2023 revival of the Sweeney Todd Musical is not Miles’s first appearance in the production. She was part of the 2008-2009 U.S. National Tour, playing Adolfo Pirelli.
Jamie Jackson plays the incomparable Judge Turpin in the show. This role follows other recent productions, including the 2015 Broadway musical Doctor Zhivago, for which he was part of the ensemble, and Wicked, for which he played Doctor Dillamond.
Not far behind Judge Turpin, one will be ready to see Beadle Bamford, portrayed by John Rapson.
Nicholas Christopher takes on that of Pirelli for this production of Sweeney Todd Broadway, but he may yet have his day in the sun, as he is all the standby for the title role. Those who choose to see the show Sept. 13-17 or Nov. 15-19 may yet see how he does, as Groban is not scheduled to perform on those dates.
Daniel Yearwood plays the young Anthony, with Maria Bilbao playing his love interest, Johanna.
At any given performance, audiences may also witness Jeanna de Waal performing on the stage, as she is the standby for Mrs. Lovett and the Beggar Woman.
The Sweeney Todd Broadway cast is backed by some superior figures behind-the-scenes, too, with Thomas Kail directing and Steven Hoggett as choreographer.
Additionally, Mimi Lien headed set design, Emilio Sosa is in charge of costume design, while Natasha Katz and Nevin Steinberg are in charge of lighting design and sound design, respectively.
Sweeney Todd Songs
As we’ve said, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a morbid musical, but the songs are no less than the work of a genius.
As the show opens, the audience is greeted by the entire cast as they perform “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” Viewers of the 76th Annual Tony Awards saw what they’d be in for as the cast came together to perform the opening number.
From there, as the show officially begins, fans get a chance to hear the voices of all the major characters, as signature classics of the musical such as “No Place Like London,” “The Barber and His Wife,” and “The Worst Pies in London” immediately introduce us to Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Lovett, and Anthony.
As the plot continues, you’ll hear the classic ballad “My Friends,” which will make any dual fans of the show and Josh Groban swoon as he perfectly executes every note. As he shouts, “At last, my right arm is complete again,” we’ll indeed be saying, “At last, our life is complete again,” now that we’ve witnessed such a performance. Don’t believe us. Check out the exclusive release of Groban’s rendition on Spotify.
The rest of the first act hits you with Johanna’s solo of “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” as well as fun songs such as “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” and “Pretty Women” before it hits its climatic peak with Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett’s performances of “Epiphany” and “A Little Priest” signaling to audiences that things are about to get dark.
Return for Act 2, and the songs do not disappoint, as a quartet performance of Act 1’s “Johanna” is heard, as is Mrs. Lovett’s hilarity-filled performance of “By the Sea” and Tobias’ heartbreaking “Not While I’m Around.”
Jonathan Tunick backs up these extremely fantastic numbers as the leader of orchestrations, and Alex Lacamoire as the music supervisor.
All these classics and more will only prove how exemplary compositions and lyrics will overshadow the grim truths of any story.
Sweeney Todd Characters
The Sweeney Todd Musical has nine principal characters in its lineup.
The essential character, of course, is Sweeney Todd, the once happy husband and father who worked as a barber but was later banished and separated from the ones he loves.
Then, there’s Mrs. Lovett, the owner of a dreadful meat pie shop on Fleet Street in London, who comes across Todd when he comes looking for his lost family.
Anthony Hope is the young sailor who meets Sweeney Todd as he’s crossing the shores into London and becomes a vital part of Todd’s efforts to reclaim his lost family.
Johanna Barker is Sweeney Todd’s long-lost daughter, who was just a baby when her father was forced to leave London.
Johanna now lives under the watchful eye of Judge Turpin, the one responsible for Todd’s banishment because of his love, or should we say lust, over her mother. Judge Turpin is often seen not far from Beadle Bamford, his sidekick who helps the judge in his ungoverned ways of handling matters across London.
Tobias Ragg is the young orphan boy who is abused under his apprenticeship with Adolfo Pirelli, a barber. But after the latter is killed following a confrontation with Sweeney Todd, Tobias is left to help Mrs. Lovett in the meat pie shop.
Then, we have the beggar woman, a seemingly unimportant character, who, believe us, has a more pivotal role in the story than just someone complaining about the smells coming from the chimney of Mrs. Lovett’s meat pie shop.
How Much Are Sweeney Todd Tickets?
As expected with a Broadway production, tickets to see Sweeney Todd Broadway will not come cheap.
While you can get some cheap seats starting at $65.31, those on the stage will probably look much like ants to where you won’t even be able to tell that it’s Josh Groban wearing that Sweeney Todd costume, although his dynamic and signature voice is sure to make it clear. From there, the critical thing to do is choose the section you prefer.
The balcony will undoubtedly be the cheapest option for you, but beware, that means that your view of the stage will be several dozen, if not hundreds of feet away, making it hard to really clue in on the action and expressions of the actors at hand. Trust us, catching those things is crucial in any production, particularly in a theatrical musical such as this one. Alas, you can get by spending less than $100 on tickets and fees, so if you’re on a budget, you may want to consider it.
While orchestra seats will put you on the floor and closest to the stage, there is the hazard of potential visual impairment depending on whether you’ve got a Kareem Abdul Jabar or Shaquille O’Neill-level person sitting in front of you. You’ll have to decide whether anywhere from $230 to $270 per ticket (plus nearly $70 in fees) is worth the risk.
The Mezzanine is where the best seats in the house are, in our opinion, and the ticket prices reflect it. Because of the slight rise of each row, the potentially obstructed view you have in orchestra seating is virtually eliminated. At the same time, you’re still close enough to see everything that’s happening clear as day. Be prepared, though. These tickets will cost you anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on the row and whether you choose the center section or stage right or left.
Where to Watch Sweeney Todd?
While yes, the most significant production of Sweeney Todd is currently the Broadway production at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th Street, New York, NY, if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to see it, there are other avenues to watch the popular production.
While no other known live productions are happening around the globe, anytime, anywhere, you can stream the 2007 film adaptation, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and HBO Max. While it’s nowhere near the level of the stage production, the film’s cast does bring the show to life, even if it is with a Hollywood twist that makes it less heart-pounding to watch.
If it’s the live musical you crave to watch, the original 1980 Broadway production starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury is available on YouTube for free.
YouTube also has a plethora of clips from various productions over the years.
And, who knows, it’s toured worldwide in various productions, so maybe it will one day be coming to a town near you, and you’ll finally be able to witness the magic and horror for yourself.
Who Wrote Sweeney Todd?
The Sweeney Todd Musical is the brilliant work of the late great composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and is based on the book by Hugh Wheeler.
With his handprint on such famed works as West Side Story (1957), A Little Night Music (1973), and Into the Woods (1987), Sondheim didn’t disappoint fans when he first introduced the musical in 1979.
Sweeney Todd Broadway would later debut at the Uris Theatre on Mar. 1, 1979. With 557 performances and 19 previews performed by Len Cariou as Sweeney Todd and Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett (later replaced by George Hearn and Dorothy Loudon), the show closed on June 29, 1980. It was the recipient of eight of the nine Tony Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Musical.
The national tour began three months later, but not before the original London production premiered at the West End’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on July 2, 1980.
While the Sweeney Todd Musical returned to Broadway on Sept. 14, 1989, with a brand-new cast at the Circle in the Square Theatre, the production was not nearly on the scale for which Sondheim intended it. Instead, it became known as “Teeny Todd” and was initially produced off-Broadway. While it did receive four Tony Award nominations, it did not earn the win.
Over the years, more revivals across London, Broadway, and Off-Broadway have been held. Still, this 2023 revival of Sweeney Todd Broadway is the most like the original 1980 production, making the show’s fans eager to see this new production in action.
What is Sweeney Todd About?
It’s right there in the title. Sweeney Todd Broadway is about a demon barber who, in just a rut of bad luck and jealousy of another man, finds himself separated from the only thing he loves most, his wife, Lucy, and his baby daughter, Johanna.
After years away from them, he returns to search for the ones he lost, hoping they’ll be there waiting for him.
Instead, he comes upon Mrs. Lovett, a meat pie shop owner, who informs him that his wife poisoned herself and Judge Turpin, responsible for Todd’s banishment, is keeping Johanna with him. Suddenly, the hope of reuniting with his family turns into a revenge story as he seeks to make Judge Turpin pay for what he’s done, but in a more gruesome way than any could have imagined.
So, get ready to “attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. He served a dark and vengeful God. What happened then? Well, that’s the play, and he wouldn’t want us to give it away.
“Not Sweeney. Not Sweeney Todd. The Demon Barber of Fleet Street!”
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