New York Philharmonic Concert of Sweeney Todd, With Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, Begins March 5

By Adam Hetrick
05 Mar 2014

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
Photo by Nick Haddow

Two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson and opera star Bryn Terfel lead the New York Philharmonic's all-star concert presentations of the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd, beginning March 5 at Avery Fisher Hall.

Lonny Price, who directed and produced the Philharmonic’s productions of Sondheim’s Company in 2011, Sondheim The Birthday Concert! in 2010, and Sweeney Todd in 2000, stages the concert presentation that continues through March 8.

Bass-baritone Terfel (Ring Cycle, Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro) stars in the title role, with Thompson making her New York stage debut as pie-maker Nellie Lovett. Thompson won her Academy Awards for "Howards End" (Best Actress in a Leading Role) and "Sense and Sensibility" (Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium).

The cast also features Tony Award winner Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, "Smash") as Pirelli, with Philip Quast (Les Misérables, Sunday in The Park with George) in his New York stage debut as Judge Turpin, Jeff Blumenkrantz (Murder for Two, Candide) as The Beadle, Jay Armstrong Johnson (Hands on a Hardbody, Hair) as Anthony Hope, Erin Mackey (Chaplin, Anything Goes) as Johanna and Kyle Brenn (West Side Story) as Tobias Ragg.



Sweeney Todd is conducted by music director Alan Gilbert. Sweeney Todd has orchestrations by Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick. Choreography is by Josh Rhodes.

The Philharmonic presented a staged production of Sweeney Todd in May 2000 conducted by Andrew Litton, directed by Price, and starring George Hearn (who replaced the originally announced Bryn Terfel) and Patti LuPone. The production was subsequently released on a New York Philharmonic CD.

Set in Victorian London, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, according to press notes, tells the story of the "eponymous barber who seeks vengeance on what he sees as a merciless world by murdering his customers and, with the help of his landlady, the romantically inclined Mrs. Lovett, bakes their bodies into meat pies, which are fed to London’s avid and unknowing populace."

With music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by Wheeler, Sweeney Todd first opened on Broadway at the Uris Theatre on March 1, 1979, directed by Harold Prince and starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. The show received eight Tony Awards in 1979 — including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score — as well as 11 Drama Desk Awards and the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical.

All tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office.

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Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel
Photo by Chris Lee