Listening Party #1: Sweeney Todd (1979)

Sweeney Todd Cover PhotoI’m starting a series of 5 Zoom Listening Parties, each one focusing on my favorite musicals.

The first will be Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, of which I have yet to see a bad production. Some have been better than others (including the one I was in with Skylight Opera Theater in 1997, but perhaps I’m biased). One reason I think this is true is because it’s too difficult a piece to do unless you have the forces on hand – both musical (vocal and instrumental) and dramatic.

The other thing is that it is just perfection. It’s dark. Oh, yes. It’s dark. But then there are moments of such hope and beauty (The “Kiss me/Ladies in their Sensitivities” quartet is nigh Mozartean), places of both slapstick humor (“Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir/The Contest”) and dark humor (“Have a Little Priest”), that it’s elevated beyond a tawdry story of false imprisonment, rape, murder, masturbation, and cannibalism. (Bring the kids!)

Join me Friday, May 1, at 3pm to listen to the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. We’ll be skipping a few pieces here and there, especially in the first act. I’ll be giving a little insight into the show as we go along. If you plan to come, let me know and I’ll send you the meeting ID.

While there is no charge for these listening parties, you may choose to donate to an area arts organization. The first organization to benefit from this party will be Third Wall Productions (TWP), a Baltimore-based community theater company, for whom I directed Little Women in 2017. Several of my students have also performed with the group, and their founder, Mike Zellhofer, has worked with me as well.

If you can’t make the party, but would like to contribute to TWP, their donation link may be found here.

Future parties and their beneficiaries will be as follows:

May 8: Ragtime – House of Bankerd

May 15: Assassins* – Spotlighters Theater

May 22: Bat Boy The Musical – American Visionary Arts Museum

May 29: A New Brain – VocalID (more info about that organization to come)

Hope to see you there! All parties will be at 3pm and end before 5pm.


 *(I’d do all Sondheim if I could)

One thought on “Listening Party #1: Sweeney Todd (1979)

  1. Pingback: Listening Party #3: Assassins – Why I sing

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