DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER: “SWEENEY TODD: IN CONCERT WITH THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC”
September 26, 2014  | By David Bianculli

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

 

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd: It began on Broadway in 1979, a stunningly aggressive and impressive Stephen Sondheim musical starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. He played a bitter barber in Victorian London who used his razors to often deadly effect, and she played his willing accomplice, who disposed of the bodies by grinding them into filling for competitively stuffed meat pies. Watching it on Broadway, when it was in the final week of previews, was one of the best theater experiences of my life, and Sweeney has thrilled me ever since. Tim Burton’s movie version, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, premiered in 2007, and a concert version TV special was released in 2001, starring George Hearn and Patti LuPone, and featuring Neil Patrick Harris as Tobias, the addled baker’s assistant. This year’s PBS Arts Fall Festival opens with a new concert version, filmed earlier this year at Lincoln Center and backed by the New York Philharmonic. Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson play the leading roles, and they’re great, with Thompson, especially, an unexpected revelation, handling the tricky music well and the shades of comedy even better. I was there to watch that, too, and was blown away all over again. Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney! Check local listings.

 
 
 
 
 
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