By Ben Rimalower
21 Sep 2013
2. Sweeney Todd
Perhaps Sondheim's masterpiece and arguably his most flawless musical, Sweeney Todd is another Sondheim show which has enjoyed numerous revivals and even other video productions, including the aforementioned fabulous 2001 Symphony concert staging with Patti LuPone and George Hearn and Tim Burton's excellent and faithful 2007 film adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Still, we are extremely lucky that Hal Prince's original production starring Angela Lansbury was also preserved on video.
Maybe because this broadcast was directed for television by Terry Hughes (unlike Into the Woods, which was directed for the camera by its own stage director/librettist, James Lapine), Sweeney Todd doesn't quite translate to the screen as well as Into the Woods, or maybe Sweeney Todd's epic nature is just less appropriate. Nonetheless, the brilliance of the material, Prince's sweeping stage pictures and inspired work from a top-notch, mostly original cast led by the legendary Lansbury at the peak of her powers and George Hearn (who won an Emmy for this broadcast) make Sweeney Todd a thrilling must-see for anyone interested in musical theatre.