- Audio CD (25 Sep 2000)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: New York Phil. Special Editions
- ASIN: B00005TQ11
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,814 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|2. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (George Hearn, Company)|
|3. No Place Like London (Davis Gaines, George Hearn, Audra McDonald)|
|4. The Worst Pies in London (Patti LuPone)|
|5. Poor Thing (Patti LuPone)|
|7. My Friends (George Hearn, Patti LuPone)|
|8. Green Finch and Linnet Bird (Heidi Grant Murphy)|
|9. Ah, Miss (Davis Gaines, Heidi Grant Murphy, Audra McDonald)|
|10. Johanna (Davis Gaines)|
See all 24 tracks on this disc
|1. God, That's Good! (Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, George Hearn, Company)|
|2. Johanna (Davis Gaines, George Hearn, Audra McDonald, Heidi Grant Murphy)|
|3. By The Sea (Patti LuPone, George Hearn)|
|4. Wigmaker Sequesnce (George Hearn, Davis Gaines)|
|5. The Letter (Quintet: Tania Batson, Jacqueline Pierce, James Bassi, Lewis White. Frank Barr)|
|6. Not While I'm Around (Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone)|
|8. Parlor Songs (John Aler, Patti LuPone, Neil Patrick Harris)|
|9. Fogg's Asylum (Company)|
|10. City on Fire (Company)|
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Based on folk-lore and written in the late 70s, Sweeney Todd is about a serial murderer in 19th Century London who returns from Australia to seek revenge for his wife's death and reunite with his daughter. It doesnt really sound like a laugh riot does it? but comedy is provided in the form of Mrs Lovitt (played here by Broadway and West End legend Patti Lupone) who takes up with Sweeney and helpfully disposes of the bodies by baking them into meat pies.
Patti Lupone does well as Mrs Lovitt even though the cockney accent sometimes slips....but oh, that voice!!! Worth the purchase alone for her versions of 'Wait' and 'Not While I'm Around' and the hilarious but disturbing 'A Little Priest'.
George Hern was a late replacement at this concert as Sweeney was originally going to be played by Bryn Terfyl, which would had been phenominal. Sadly he hurt his back so pulled out. George Hern is good in a role he won plaudits for 20 years ago (and he can be seen in a video/dvd of the show starring with the original broadway Mrs Lovitt, Angela Lansbury).
This is a concert version, and the audience reponse can be a bit ditracting when listening on CD. Apparantly this is also available on Region 1 DVD, and it may be more enjoyable to watch as well as here. In saying that, everyone is in good voice especially Patti Lupone and Audra MacDonald (as the Beggar woman). The orchestra is lush and the audience obviously appreciative. For Sondheim completists and Patti Lupone fans this is a must...for anyone else, I would stick with the Broadway original.
It appears that most Sondheim fans loathe George Hearn's Sweeney. I, however, believe that his is the definitive interpretation of the role. I did see Len Cariou perform Sweeney (with Angela Lansbury) in the original Broadway run, and Cariou's Sweeney was very good; he was quiet, big, powerful and very scary. But what Hearn understands is what Cariou never got: Sweeney is, as Mrs. Lovett says, a bleeding little nobody. I recall wondering, throughout Cariou's performance, why doesn't this powerful and scary Sweeney just go to the judge's house at night and kill him; or get him on the street; why does he wait? Hearn, with his hand wringing and desperate emotional outbursts, understands why. Hearn also understands that Sweeney Todd is a melodrama, and what many see as "excesses" in Hearn's portrayal, I see as perfectly appropriate emotional levels for the character, and for the 19th Century operetta form.
I now own BOTH versions of Sweeney Todd, and am very glad about that.
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