Presented by Tooting Arts Club
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
From an Adaptation by Christopher Bond
Directed by Bill Buckhurst
Cast: Norm Lewis, Carolee Carmello, Stacie Bono, Jamie Jackson, John-Michael Lyles, Matt Doyle, Alex Finke, Brad Oscar
Scenic, Costume Design: Simon Kenny
Music Supervision & Arrangements: Benjamin Cox
Music Direction: Matt Aument
Choreographer: Georgina Lamb
Lighting Design: Amy Mae
Sound Design: Matt Stine
Fight Director: Bryce Birmingham
Prop Master: Ray Wetmore
First Performance February 14, 2017
Opening March 1, 2017
Final Performance April 9, extended through February 25, 2018
Submit a review for Sweeney Todd
This production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett immerses audiences in a completely new theatrical experience.
This Sweeney Todd comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London where the show debuted in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, the oldest continuously operating pie shop in the city, before transferring (by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh) to a West End venue on Shaftesbury Avenue. The working pie-shop environment will be re-created at the Barrow Street Theatre.
Of this production, the Times of London said that “No matter how big a Stephen Sondheim fan you are, you’ve never seen Sweeney Todd served up quite like this.” The Times also called it “funny, gripping, unnerving and unforgettable” while the Financial Times called it “an irresistible tasty treat” and The Stage said it’s “a shattering unmissable production.”
Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.
As previously announced, former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama) will serve as the production’s official pie maker throughout the New York run. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” will be available for purchase by all audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. Bill Yosses will recreate the “pie and mash” experience for Barrow Street audiences. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce – otherwise known as “liquor” – which is an optional extra. Both meat and veg pie options will be available.
Ben Brantley – New York Times
While I did not partake of this crusty fare, it seems safe to say that those who do are in little danger of serious indigestion, even psychologically. This “Sweeney” may raise your pulse rate. How could it not when a cleaver-wielding man leaps with pantherine ease onto the center of your table? Yet unlike almost every previous “Sweeney” I’ve seen (last count: eight), this one rarely penetrates your heart and mind.
Jeremy Gerard – Deadline
The book has been shorn in ways I don’t completely love – I missed Tobias’ gruesome discovery in the grinding room, as well as the tooth-pulling part of Sweeney’s duel with Pirrelli. Benjamin Cox’s arrangements for trio (piano, violin and clarinet) have their charms, but power doesn’t figure in the mix. Like those pies at the outset, this Sweeney Todd provides delectable finger food (sorry) when what you really want is the full meal.
Jesse Green – Vulture
The gimmick, and the close quarters it entails, make this the most frightening Sweeney Todd I’ve seen. (It was hard to be frightened in the 1,900-seat Uris Theatre — now the Gershwin — where the original played.) The action surrounds and encompasses you; at times, Todd himself, in a wild-eyed performance by Jeremy Secomb, will leap onto your table and seem to stalk you specifically.
David Rooney – The Hollywood Reporter
In the atmospheric new revival of Sweeney Todd, the Grand Guignol musical masterwork by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler that never gets old, you might find your scalp being massaged with Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir to promote hair regrowth. Or maybe you’ll have the wits scared out of you when “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” pounces on your seat, waving one of his trusty silver razors just inches from your face. All while you’re still digesting your pie and mash. That was this reviewer’s experience, and though I’m not surprised that four days later, I’m still as bald as I was before, the chilling intimacy of this ingenious site-specific production has stayed with me.
Tim Teeman – The Daily Beast
How do you feel about a certain demon barber looking deep and menacingly into your eyes as he sings about slitting throats? Jeremy Secomb as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, in the marvelous, nerve-shredding London transfer of Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical (with book by Hugh Wheeler), fizzes with as much terror as Barrow Street Theatre’s impressively designed mock-up of a traditional South London pie-and-mash shop (by Simon Kenny) can contain.
Jonathan Mandell- DC Theatre Scene
The Tooting Arts Club’s exceptionally entertaining production of Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s glorious murderous musical, began in 2014 in Harrington’s, one of London’s oldest working pie shops. An impressively detailed replica of Harrington’s has now set up shop Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theater, including the pies.
Marilyn Stasio – Variety
The Tooting Arts Club, a site-specific London community theater, has scored the ideal New York venue for its audience-pleasing version of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Tucked into Off Broadway’s Barrow Street Theater (transformed into “Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop,” after the oldest such establishment in London, where the show originated), this genial staging of the Hugh Wheeler-Stephen Sondheim musical invites audiences to eat, drink, and dodge the actors dancing on the tables.
Linda Winer – Newsday
Sondheim’s score is expertly reduced to just a piano, strings and wind trio. Somehow, Sondheim’s restless chromatics, the difficult disjunct vocal lines, the extended song forms and, especially, the wrenchingly beautiful choral writing are approached with the affection and awe they deserve. And, for once, there is no amplification, a pleasure even more sustaining than the food.
Matt Windman – AM New York
At its best, “Sweeney” can be terrifying, mesmerizing and sweeping, but this production sacrifices the storytelling and score for the sake of a gimmick.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
Well, the pie is indeed terrific. And I’m happy to report that a significant chunk of the show itself is even better.