Sunday Sondheim: Finale of ‘Sweeney Todd’ – Korean Cast


This is one of the most marvelous versions I’ve ever seen, especially the technical aspects: superb lighting, chilling sound design (especially the machine sounds at beginning), and the scenic/staging design is brilliant, especially the ritualistic handwashing and the coats lifted aloft, first looking like a mass lynching and then a line of coats representing those people Sweeney killed.  Freakin’ marvelous!

Oh yeah, the music’s not bad either.  Who’s the composer again?  😉


Sunday Night Sondheim: Sweeney Todd in Japan

Japanese professional theatre’s rehearsal of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”, the finale of Sweeney Todd.

CAST: Masachika ICHIMURA (Sweeney Todd), Shinobu OTAKE (Mrs. Lovett), Midoriko KIMURA (Beggar Woman), Sonim (Johann), Yu SHIROTA (Anthony), Michitaka TACHIKAWA (Judge Turpin), Satoru SAITO (Beadle), Shinji TAKEDA (Tobias), Amon MIYAMOTO (Director)

favorite comments:

– I think I prefer this in English
– that’s cuz you speak English
– Reply: No, I just prefer the singers. I’m usually a big fan of Japanese songs

And here’s the Japanese trailer for the movie opening of “Sweeney Todd”, starring Johnny Depp.

Sunday Night Sondheim: “Pretty Women” from Barcelona production of Sweeney Todd



Live in Barcelona with Constantino Romero (Sweeney)  and Xavier Ribera-Vall (Judge Turpin).

Sunday Night Sondheim: Sondheim teaches "My Friends"

Stephen Sondheim teaching Guildhall School students – Mrs Lovett is Jacqui Dankworth.

This clip featuring Stephen Sondheim teaching “My Friends” from Sweeney Todd is great fun and exciting to watch Sondheim’s genuis mind at work. (fyi: Sweeney happens to be my favorite Sondheim musical – I even used a monologue from the piece for a high school speech competition, and then went on to music direct it at Northwestern University).

Some “interesting” comments on YouTube:

aah, sondheim is a GENIUSHOLYCRAP. so articulate. so GOOD. and he makes adorable faces…
My sense is that these people were not cast in an actual show/production of the show, but rather they were probably given songs by their voice instructors, and had to prepare it as best they could. This guy would never be cast as Sweeney Todd in real life. Anthony, perhaps. But not Todd.
What Is She Doing??
I Cant Believe She Is Actually Dumb Enough To Sing Like That When In The Presence Of Someone Like Stephen Sondheim.
What Is Wrong With Her?!! 
The singer here really doesn’t seem into the part. But did it occur to anyone else how well Johnny Depp in the film (probably because he’s a professional actor), did with regards to the advice Sondheim is giving here- the hypnotic quality, the pronunciation of the ‘s’ words, the tonal changes, his addressing the razor? According to Sondheim he did a perfect job it would seem.

Sunday Night Sondheim: “What More Do I Need/Opening Doors” – with Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway sings Stephen Sondheim’s What More Do I Need? (from Saturday Night) followed by a performance of the Opening Doors sequence from Merrily We Roll Along where Hathaway is joined by Eric McCormack (of Will & Grace fame), Alexander Gemignani (Sweeney Todd revival, Les Miserable revival), and Stephanie D’Abruzzo (of Avenue Q). Featuring original Broadway cast member Jason Alexander special appearance by Bernadette Peters.

Performed in honor of Stephen Sondheim’s 75th Birthday on July 8, 2005 at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles.

Guilty of fraud: Poducers of “Ragtime” and “Kiss of Spider Woman”

Livent Producers Drabinsky and Gottlieb Are Guilty of Fraud, Canadian Courts Say

Garth Drabinsky of Livent Productions

Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, the producers who gave North American theatre a shot in the arm with award-winning productions of Show Boat, Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Fosse and more, were found guilty of fraud and forgery carried out at their production company Livent, Inc., a Canadian court ruled March 25.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto made her judgment in Toronto, 11 months after the trial began.  The judge asserted that the producing duo’s “creative success” was “spectacular” but that “widespread and long-standing” fraud and “deliberate misrepresentation” clouded their success and theatrical contributions.

There’s a Chicago connection to Drabinsky and Livent: the company refurbished Chicago’s ornate Oriental Theatre, where they produced a successful run of their Tony Award winning musical Ragtime.  (personal note: Ragtime is easily one of my top 3 musicals, along with Parade and Sweeney Todd)

Story courtesy of Kenneth Jones of

photo by Michael Cooper

Sunday Night Sondheim – Piano Tutorial using “My Friends”

Now this is a posting first for me – an actual piano tutorial that just happens to use a Stephen Sondheim song as its “drill” (My Friends from Sweeney Todd, to be exact).  From the YouTube video description:

How to play My Friends from Sweeney Todd.  First part of the song – played just by ear, probably not exactly the right notes.

You can find more of Klooiplekbart‘s piano tutorial videos here.