In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Sweeney Todd star Josh Groban revealed that he took barber lessons to prepare for his role in the show. Groban demonstrated the technique with a blade as interviewer Anthony Mason sat in a barber's chair. The interview coincidentally took place on Groban's 42nd birthday, which prompted him to share that when his manager suggested that he should play Sweeney Todd, he initially thought he was too young. "I'm thinking to myself, oh, I'm not old enough to do that, and he's like, 'dude, you're going to be 41,' and I'm like...oh my god, that is old enough!"
Annaleigh Ashford, also interviewed in the CBS feature, shared insight on her character, Mrs. Lovett, noting that villains often do not realize they are the villain themselves. "That's sort of the way I've viewed Mrs. Lovett. She doesn't think she's bad, she's surviving," she explains. "Mrs. Lovett at her core is a survivor, and she needs Sweeney Todd because she's a woman in a man's world."
The interview included plenty of other thoughts, anecdotes, and behind-the-scenes information from the company of Sweeney Todd. Watch below.
The Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, now in previews and opening March 26, stars Josh Groban as the titular Sweeney Todd and Annaleigh Ashford as Mrs. Lovett. The production features Jonathan Tunick's full, 26-piece orchestration for the first time on Broadway since the 1979 original production, under the baton of three-time Tony winner Alex Lacamoire. Tony-winning Hamilton director Thomas Kail is at the helm
The revival also features Jordan Fisher (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen) as Anthony, Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things) as Tobias, Tony Award winner and Laurence Olivier Award nominee Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I) as Beggar Woman, Maria Bilbao (On Your Feet!) as Johanna, Jamie Jackson (The Last Ship) as Judge Turpin, and John Rapson (Les Misérables) as Beadle Bamford.
The ensemble includes Galyana Castillo, Jonathan Christopher, Taeler Cyrus, Timothy Hughes, Paul-Jordan Jansen, Alicia Kaori, Raymond J. Lee, Patricia Phillips, Samantha Pollino, Lexi Rabadi, Nathan Salstone, Kristie Dale Sanders, Stephen Tewksbury, Daniel Torres, Felix Torrez-Ponce, and DeLaney Westfall.
The production features choreography by Steven Hoggett, scenic design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, special effects design by Jeremy Chernick, and wig, hair, and make-up design by J. Jared Janas. Casting is by The Telsey Office, and Baseline Theatrical's Nick Lygo and James Hickney serve as general managers. Cody Renard Richard is production stage manager.
The original production, which debuted on Broadway in 1979, won eight 1980 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, along with Best Actor and Actress nods for original stars Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. The work has gone on to be regarded by many as one of Sondheim's masterpieces, with its epic, operatic scale letting it be equally at home on the musical theatre stage as it is at the opera house. The musical was revived on Broadway in 1989 and 2005, and Off-Broadway in 2017, all presenting the work on a smaller scale with dramatically smaller orchestrations. A film adaptation, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, was released in 2007.