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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet…

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Applause Musical Library)

by Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler

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340750,235 (4.3)6
(Applause Libretto Library). Book by Hugh Wheeler Introduction by Christopher Bond "Mr. Sondheim fearlessly explores psychic caverns where civilized people are not dying to go ... A naked Sweeney Todd stands revealed as a musical of naked rage, chewing up everyone in its path as it spits out blood and tears." Frank Rich, The New York Times * "A work of such scope and such daring that it dwarfs every other Broadway musical that even attempts to invite comparison." Rex Reed, New York Daily News… (more)



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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
  VPALib | Mar 6, 2019 |
I love musicals, but I have trouble hearing all the words when sung quickly or when the voices overlap with different lines. So written versions like this are always illuminating and welcome. The story here is a little thin, but there is glee in the gore and wit in the words. This isn't my favorite Sondheim work, but it is certainly worth revisiting. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jul 28, 2018 |
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
I must admit I don’t exactly see the point in reading a musical, especially one with as many musical numbers as Sweeney Todd. But this was a school assignment, so I simply shook my head and mumbled “okay.”

This is not to say I did not enjoy the experience. It’s a good show, and reading it did bring certain lyrics to the fore that I had not noticed before, such as Sweeney’s line “if only angels could prevail/we’d be the way we were,” which I think speaks to one of the musical’s most important themes, the way in which we all long for something better.

So I do think I understand the musical better now, but for all newcomers I would say to skip reading it, and instead watch the excellent video of the stage production starring George Hearn and Angela Lansbury (just ignore the shrieky and cross-eyed Johanna, blech). I’ve not seen the Tim Burton movie, and I’m not sure I want to, because one of the things I like best about the musical is the almost operatic complexity of its score—so to cut and simplify the songs is going rather against the grain as far as I’m concerned.

A final word to those of you who are put off by the gruesomeness of the subject matter: as I said to my father recently, yes, murder and cannibalism is involved in the plot, but that’s not really what it is about. It’s a very complex show thematically; for me, it is about revenge and the way it comes back to bite you, how messed up human love can be, and the class system.

So the show? Recommended. The book? Only for those who already like it and want to have a closer look at it. ( )
2 vote ncgraham | Nov 3, 2010 |
The most amazing score, with no note or word that is not cleverly crafted. One of the best ever. ( )
  mwalters21 | Aug 18, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Sondheimprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wheeler, Hughmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.
A customer!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do NOT combine with the film (video formats).
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