Variety reports that DreamWorks' Steven Spielberg and Walter Parkes are interested in turning the Tony-winning musical into a feature film. Parkes, in fact, is currently in Chicago to meet with composer-lyricist Sondheim about the production. One of the original Broadway producers of Sweeney Todd was Martin Richards, who scored this season with the Academy Award-winning film "Chicago." Richards, the industry paper says, will meet with Spielberg about the Sweeney Todd project as well. It's an especially busy time for DreamWorks, which recently greenlighted a project with Hairspray composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The Tony-winning duo will convert the DreamWorks film, "Catch Me If You Can," into a Broadway musical.
Considered one of Stephen Sondheim's masterpieces, Sweeney Todd originally premiered at Broadway's Uris Theatre on Feb. 6, 1979, with a cast led by Len Cariou (Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), who both nabbed Tony Awards for their roles. Harold Prince directed the production, which was awarded the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. A 1989 revival at Circle in the Square Theatre featured Beauty and the Beast's Beth Fowler as Mrs. Lovett and former Evita star Bob Gunton as the man who returns to London to avenge the death of his wife.
The most recent major production of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler work, which is based on a version of "Sweeney Todd" by Christopher Bond, was the Kennedy Center mounting, which starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski. A concert presentation of the musical, directed by Lonny Price and led by Tony winners George Hearn and Patti LuPone confirmed the strength of Sondheim's score, which boasts such tunes as "The Worst Pies in London," "Johanna," "Pretty Women," "A Little Priest," "By the Sea" and "Not While I'm Around."