Monday, July 31, 2006

Sweeney Todd Will Soon Be Fleeting

Sweeney Todd Will Soon Be Fleeting

Over the weekend, it was announced that the stunning revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd will close September 3 -- nearly three months sooner than originally expected. Having opened on November 3, 2005 to rave reviews, it will have played a total of 349 performances by the time things wind down at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

The original 1979 production of Sweeney Todd with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury at the Uris Theatre (renamed in 1983 as the George Gershwin Theatre) won 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The original ran for a total of 557 performances, opening on March 1, 1979 and closing on June 29, 1980.

Nearly one decade later, the first revival of Sweeney Todd with Bob Gunton and Beth Fowler opened at the Circle in the Square Theatre on September 14, 1989, running for 188 performances before closing on February 25, 1990. That incarnation received four Tony nominations, but no awards.

I was very disappointed that the current revival never managed to attract and sustain the audiences it so richly deserved -- despite its critical acclaim, it has often hovered near the bottom of the weekly list of Broadway grosses (last week, the musical attracted 53.6% capacity). I also was quite disheartened when it failed to win the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical; while it earned six Tony nominations, it only won in the Best Direction of a Musical (John Doyle) and Best Orchestrations (Sarah Travis) categories.

But don't expect September 3 to be the last of this Sweeney Todd -- a touring production is now very likely.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Sweeney Todd's Close Shave: LuPone and Cerveris to Stay Put Through Thanksgiving (June 27, 2006)
O-Kaye Given to Temporary LuPone Replacement (May 18, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #10 - Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Eugene O'Neill Theatre, New York, NY) (May 15, 2006)

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