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Sweeney Todd

Various Artists

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Customer Reviews

The original Broadway production is still the best

When I first saw the original Broadway production of Sweeny Todd I was astounded that the quirky production and dark subject matter was elevated to such perfection by such a brilliant and complex musical score and a captivating and witty libretto. Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou have also provided two of the most masterful operetta performances of modern times. Lansbury's Mrs. Lovett is a shrill and emotional affectation of a woman, totally without scruples. Cariou's Todd oozes anger and depression and yet is all the more startling in his turns to wit and humor. Though the voices are far from precise they fit this story to perfection. This is Sondheim's masterpiece. This story is not for the squeamish; it is clearly not a melodrama nor, simply, a morality play but musical drama of operatic proportions. There are more than half-a-dozen show stopping songs woven into a musical tapestry that sets Sweeny Todd far above the best of Broadway musicals. The primary theme, "The Ballad of Sweeny Todd," is an undertone throughout. Though it is used effectively to reiterate Todd's obsession with revenge, "Epiphany" is the intensely frightening expression of his insanity. The complexity of the music still retains an engaging quality, one is easily invited to the lyrics; and we are treated to some of the most exquisite counterpoint duets of the modern musical stage. Prepare to be entertained.

George Hearn v.s. Len Cariou

Overall, Len's voice is better than George's, but George is a better actor. Take "A Little Priest" for instance. George is the only Sweeney I could find that actually bursts into believable laughter during the beginning. Instead of "Oh..." or "Hmm...", he goes "HA!!" That automatically makes him awesome. Don't deny it.

Stage Performance vs. Movie

Johnny Depp is a good actor, and I enjoyed his performance in the new Sweeney Todd movie, but he did not make for a great Sweeney himself. I know die-hard Depp fans might disagree, but I am merely voicing my opinion. Depp's performance was too sad. Depp Sweeney was miserable, whereas in other versions I have seen performed, he was insane and, as it is stated in one of the songs, he "seldom laughed but often smiled", which made for an absolutely creepy character. Depp was good, of course, it's just that I've liked every other Sweeney more. Then there's the fact that a lot of songs are missing from the movie. All of the Ballads, Ah Miss, Johanna (the Judge's song), Kiss Me, the Wigmaker Sequence, and the Parlor songs, not in the movie at all. Also, a lot was cut out of other songs that did make it in the movie, such as No Place Like London, Pirelli's Miracle Elixer, Ladies in Their Sensitivities and God That's Good. This makes me cry because I really loved Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin and Timothy Spall made for a good Beadle Bamford, but most of their character's songs are cut out or shortened. So when it comes down to it, if you were to own just one Sweeney Todd album, make it this one.

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Sweeney Todd
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  • $16.99
  • Genres: Soundtrack, Music
  • Released: May 30, 2005

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