Sweeney Todd

Discussion in 'Wise Talk!' started by wiseone2, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    I play the original version of this show on Broadway. We had a full orchestra in the then brand new Uris theater. Check this out!

    The Associated Press
    Originally published July 28, 2005, 3:26 PM EDT
    NEW YORK -- From Eva Peron to Mrs. Lovett.

    Patti LuPone, who won a Tony Award for her performance in "Evita," will portray the entrepreneurial meat-pie maker in a revival of "Sweeney Todd," opening Nov. 3 on Broadway.

    The production, which will also star Michael Cerveris as the murderous "demon barber of Fleet Street," will be performed with only 10 actors, who will play all the musical instruments in the show. It will be directed and designed by John Doyle.

    "Sweeney Todd," which has a score by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, originally opened on Broadway in 1979, with Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou heading the cast. It was revived 10 years later with Beth Fowler and Bob Gunton in the lead roles.

    Preview performances for this new production, which originated in London last year, begin Oct. 3 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

    Wilmer
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    No synthesizers? Horrors...

    Thanks for the tip, Wilmer... makes me miss NYC. What kind of acting role does the trumpeter in this show play?

    ML
     
  3. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Sorry, Manny for being unclear. The 1979 show had a 30 piece orchestra in the pit. This version has no musicians, just 9 on-stage ACTORS playing and singing! We had 2 trumpets, 3 trombones and a french horn in the 1979 show. Jonathan Tunick's wonderful orchestrations will be lost.
    Are they doing this for artistic reasons or just to make money :-(
    Wilmer
     
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Oh, crap!

    That stinks. I'm annoyed to hear that given especially that it was such a popular musical back then, I can't imagine it's not going to do well. So, instead of giving it a go with a real instrumentation they're doing that. I'd love to see the numbers for how much money this version winds up making.

    Sondheim must have given permission for a version like this, don't you think?

    ML
     
  5. MalinTrumpet

    MalinTrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Nov 7, 2004
    New York City
    Hey guys:

    Actually the revival with Bob Gunton and Beth Fowler that is mentioned in the article used 2 synthesizers. It was done in a very small space and worked well. It started at the York Theater (in a church gym) and moved to a small Broadway house, the Circle in the Square. Ironically, the Circle in the Square is in the same building that was the Uris and is now the Gershwin. Both Jonathan Tunick and Sondheim approved the miniature production, which was sometimes referred to as "Teeny Todd". I saw it a few times and enjoyed it.

    It certainly didn't have the impact of the huge, original production. Sweeney Todd is one of the few shows that really works well in a large theater like the Uris/Gershwin. It's a wonderful commentary on the evils of the industrial revolution in London. Lately, it's been done in large opera houses. I've seen it done successfully at the New York City Opera.

    I'll go see it with Patti LuPone,(Didn't she do it in concert with the Philharmonic 2 years ago?), but it won't have the size and excitement of the original production.

    Wilmer, someone told me that Wynton subbed for you at Sweeney Todd. True? Also, I recently played a week of opera with Dick SanFillipo. I think he was your section mate on the orignal Sweeney Todd.

    Larry Malin
     
  6. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Sweeney Todd was the first time anyone in NYC heard Wynton, he had just arrived in town. My friend, James Tinsley alerted me about Wynton. Wynton had just dazzled them at The Tanglewood Festival. Check out the "New York Jazz Gang" picture, that's the way he looked his first year in NYC, skinny with a ton of hair:-}

    Stephen Sondheim, I am told, loves this version. You can hear all the words, they claim. I still remember the chills I got in the pit every show when kid dispatched Sweeney on stage just above the brass section. We had stage blood on our music.
    Dick SanFillipo was the second trumpet player.
    Wilmer
     
  7. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

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    Here's a twist.
    I saw a listing of the "Sweeney Todd" cast and my jaw dropped. There was listed Alexander Gemignani playing the role of the Beedle. He is one of the actor/trumpet players in the show. He is the son of Paul Gemignani, the original conductor of the show. His mom,Carol Page, is a wonderful soprano. We did "Su le sponde del tebro" at Marlboro many years ago.
    Alexander was a kid when he sat with me while we were doing "Into the Woods". I was Alexander's babysitter :roll:
    Now I really feel old :-(
    Wilmer
     

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