Bryn Terfel Will Star in New York Philharmonic's Sweeney Todd in 2014; Lonny Price Directs

By Andrew Gans
July 8, 2013

The New York Philharmonic will present a staged production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony-winning Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street March 5–8, 2014.



Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel will star in the title role. Additional casting will be announced.

Sweeney Todd will be conducted by music director Alan Gilbert and directed by 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.

“It is always exciting when the New York Philharmonic steps out of its traditional role to expand the notion of what an orchestra can be,” said music director Gilbert in a statement. “Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd is both powerful and exuberant, and the Philharmonic’s performance of this score will again demonstrate just how outstanding a great Broadway show is when performed by the musicians of this great Orchestra. It will be especially thrilling with Bryn Terfel, a remarkable actor as well as a legendary singer, in the title role, and I’ve enjoyed conferring with Lonny Price about the characters and the role the music should play.”

“I am always excited to return to the New York Philharmonic, and particularly with Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece Sweeney Todd,” added director Price. “There is no orchestra in the world better suited to play this music, and I know under Alan Gilbert’s baton, Sweeney will scare, delight, and thrill Philharmonic audiences with the power of Mr. Sondheim’s unparalleled work in the musical theater.”

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 Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh 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.

On March 5, 2014, the New York Philharmonic will hold its Spring Gala. For information about the Gala, which includes a pre-concert reception, concert and post-concert seated dinner with the artists, contact Jennifer Levine, levinej@nyphil.org, or call (212) 875-5757.

Single tickets for these performances start at $75, and go on sale to the general public Aug. 18 at noon. Subscribers may purchase tickets now. 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.