Tribute to Sweeney Todd

Edward has an awesome post commemorating the original television production of Sweeney Todd.

If you are only familiar with Lansbury as crime-solving mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher on TV’s Murder, She Wrote or as the malevolent manipulator Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, you owe it to yourself to watch Sweeney Todd. Lansbury sings, Lansbury dances and Lansbury wows. Her Mrs. Lovett is a hard act for anyone to follow.

(Great comments to that post, too.)

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14 Responses to Tribute to Sweeney Todd

  1. melissa says:

    Sweeny Todd on TV started a lifelong obsession with Sondheim. That I have passed on to my 13 year old… I shudder to think of what other parents must think of me, when the DVD of Sweeny Todd gets lent to their children. (Yes, I let my child watch shows about serial killers in 1800’s Britain… don’t you?)

    I was working on Green Finch and Linnet Bird with my voice teacher for a while. She taught me lots about opera, I taught her lots about musicals. I went on for quite a while abou t how the overture illustrates how the organ music represents the old order crumbling, then the factory whistle is the industrial revolution completely shattering the society. Then the slow building of the choral theme can be the rumblings of the opressed coming to the forefront, spirialing into the shrill “Sweeney” just before Todd himself emerges from the grave.

    Oops. Guess I’m rambling again. I love this show, and the craft and care that have gone into the orchestrations and lyrics.

  2. david says:

    Ah, Sweeney Todd. Few things are more interesting or disturbing.

  3. Brendan O'Malley says:

    I had to watch Sweeney Todd in some URI drama class or other. Sheil, you’ve often gently chided me in regards to my negative response to certain things…

    But I hate Angela Lansbury. In all forms. The production itself is a masterpiece but I simply can’t watch her. She reminds me of the kid in 2nd grade who is way more advanced than everybody else but instead of it seeming like a good thing, they only correct everyone else when they make mistakes.

    Ewww. But that show? Amazing.

  4. red says:

    Well, I basically pointed to that post for fans of hers who will love it. Mitchell and Alex will love it.

  5. red says:

    And I actually have high hopes for the movie … but we shall see we shall see. I agree with some of the trepidations mentioned over on Edward’s site.

  6. red says:

    Oh and Bren, speaking of Helena Bonham Carter – have I ever done my Helena Bonham Carter on Miami Vice imitation?

    Mitchell used to make me do it and then totally abuse me for how gross it was.

    whimpery voice: “Crocket …. I’m a junkie!”

    Only with a Cockney accent:

    “Craw-kit … Oim a junkeeee.”


  7. Brendan O'Malley says:


    Hee hee. Just the fact that you HAVE a Helena Bonham Carter on Miami Vice imitation is funny.

    She goes up my ass sideways too. But she’s great in the Harry Potter movies.



  8. red says:



  9. red says:

    Now I cannot get that elongated ridiculous scream out of my mind.


  10. Brendan O'Malley says:

    Watching Mickey Rourke act up a storm in that movie is priceless. He’s all method all over the place…totally real and scruffy. AWFUL.

  11. tracey says:

    I cannot shake Len Cariou as Sweeney. I simply cannot. I fell in love with the soundtrack and with him, too. And when I watched this version, I just couldn’t get into George Hearn’s Sweeney. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but I remember watching it with friends and we were all united in our raging prejudice and all-encompassing hatred of George Hearn. And it didn’t matter what he did — he could simply WALK across the stage and one of us would mutter, “Look at him … I hate his walk.” One of the guys was totally enraged by Hearn’s double singing chin and would loudly denounce it whenever the poor man opened his mouth. It was completely irrational, but I think we needed to hate him for our obsessive love to be secure.

    Also, to me, that Johanna was totally spastic. Literally an unwatchable freak. If I wasn’t busy becoming obsessed with Hearn’s double singing chin, I was busy becoming completely UNGLUED about her. I prayed the story would change and Sweeney would slit her throat. Like, at the BEGINNING of the play.

    But then sometimes I think, Well, maybe I was watching a huge theatrical triumph for an actress with Tourette’s. You know?

  12. mitchell says:

    Brendan,,u know i love u..but ur issues with Ms. Lansbury are a big problem…im not sure we can through this…she is ALWAYS brilliant! And ur a dumb str8 guy!!! There… i said it!!!! I’m ready to bring this to fisticuffs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..thanks for the link having a hard time with the casting of HBC..can she even sing???..oh btw …i kidding with u Brendan…ur NOT dumb!!! or all that str8 really!

  13. red says:

    Mitchell – member when we watched Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris – and we just lost it in the moment when she sat on the bench, crying? It was this piercingly real moment – it killed us!!

  14. mitchell says:

    i remembr it well..i love her soo much..a model of a classy,successful,LONG-lasting career.

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