Patti LuPone Will Return to Broadway as Mrs. Lovett for New Sweeney Todd

News   Patti LuPone Will Return to Broadway as Mrs. Lovett for New Sweeney Todd Patti LuPone — returning to Broadway for her first musical role in 17 years — has been confirmed to play the "bloody wonder," lovable Mrs. Lovett, for the upcoming Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Sweeney Todd stars Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris
Sweeney Todd stars Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris Photo by Aubrey Reuben

John Doyle, who staged the London run, directs the new staging to begin previews Oct. 3 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre toward a Nov. 3 opening night. Michael Cerveris (Assassins, The Who's Tommy) plays the title role.

LuPone has previously performed as Mrs. Lovett with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and for the Ravinia Festival's Stephen Sondheim celebration. For Ravinia, she also appeared in the composer-lyricist's A Little Night Music, Passion, Sunday in the Park with George and is expected in its upcoming Anyone Can Whistle (opposite her Sweeney co-star Cerveris).

A Best Actress (Musical) Tony Award winner for her turn in Evita, LuPone was last seen in a musical on Broadway (ironically as Reno Sweeney) in the 1988 revival of Anything Goes — for which she was Tony-nominated. The actress has remained in the New York spotlight with appearances in the New York Philharmonic's Candide concert, the City Center Encores! run of Cole Porter's Can-Can, as well as non-musical turn for Broadway’s Noises Off, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and her concerts Patti LuPone on Broadway and Matters of the Heart.

Cerveris won a Tony Award for his turn as Booth in the 2004 revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. The actor has appeared Off-Broadway in Wintertime and Fifth of July and also earned a Tony Award nomination for his Broadway debut as the title role in The Who's Tommy. Other stage credits include Passion, Titanic and the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh and Richard Frankel will present Sweeney Todd with the Ambassador Theatre Group (which recently co-produced a run with The Watermill Theatre at the West End's New Ambassador Theatre), Adam Kenwright & Tulchin/Bartner Productions for the production on Broadway. The unique staging casts actor-musicians to retell the story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and company. A cast of ten actors (with no ensemble) will be required to perform on instruments ranging from flute, glockenspiel, trumpet and clarinet to piano, cello, accordion and double bass.

Sweeney Todd features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, drawing from the play by Christopher Bond (itself based on characters created by British journalist George Dibden-Pitt, who adapted his 1830s penny dreadful tale into a popular stage melodrama). The story follows a vengeful barber (Sweeney) in Victorian England and his neighbor (Mrs. Lovett) who owns a pie shop that becomes popular due to a surplus of fresh meat.

The work made its Broadway debut Feb. 6, 1979 starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury — both earned Tony Awards for their turns. Harold Prince directed the 1979 Tony Award winner for Best Musical. In 1989, an intimate, smaller-cast revival of Sweeney Todd was produced on Broadway and Tony Award-nominated for Best Revival. Susan H. Schulman directed stars Bob Gunton (as Sweeney) and Beth Fowler (as Mrs. Lovett). The work was also seen in Washington, D.C. as part of the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration with stars Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski.

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