Last night I treated Mike to an early birthday present. I got us tickets to Sweeney Todd at A.C.T. It was awesome. We loved it. (Who knew we were such Sondheim fans? Between this and Assassins we are racking up his plays this year.) This is a revival of the version that has all the actors playing their instruments onstage instead of having a separate orchestra. It was amazing. The cast is so talented, to segue between their lines and their songs and their instruments. It's playing here in San Francisco through mid-October then going on a national tour. If it comes to your neighborhood, check it out.
But before you buy your tickets, maybe you should read a brief synopsis. This isn't one of those family-friendly lovey-dovey musicals. This is a musical about a murderous London barber. Sweeney Todd comes back into town after having been banished for trumped-up charges. He vows revenge upon the judge that sent him away, and the killing spree begins. And what to do with all those dead bodies? Well he happens to live above a failing pie shop that suddenly becomes very successful when some fresh meat is newly available. Revenge! Murder! Cannibalism! And of course young lovers! What could make a better musical than that?
Coincidentally, a few days ago we noticed a movie poster for Sweeney Todd. It's a Tim Burton-Johnny Depp-Helena Bonham Carter production opening this winter. It's a perfect Tim Burton story.