Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, is advertised as “a musical thriller.” That it is. If, like your correspondent, you haven’t seen it before, it will keep you alert, wondering what crazy twist the story will take next. Theater 2020’s production, which has ten performances remaining, from this coming weekend (February 24-26) through March 12 — performance schedule and purchase tickets here — has its venue in the McKinney Chapel of the First Unitarian Church, 116 Pierrepont Street (entrance between Monroe Place and Clinton). It’s a small space, so seating is limited, but the acoustics are marvelous. Even if you’re seated near the back, your experience will be almost the same as being in the front row of a Broadway house.
The performance was superb. David Fuller, who, along with his wife, Judith Jarosz, is Producing Artistic Director of Theater 2020 (Mr. Fuller and Ms. Jarosz are Brooklyn Heights residents; Ms. Jarosz directed and choreographed Sweeney Todd) plays the title role with aplomb. His strong baritone voice carries him from initial naivete through vengeful plotting to final despair. Lorinne Lampert, who has appeared in several previous Theater 2020 productions, excels as Todd’s scheming enabler and accomplice, Mrs. Lovett. The rest of the cast are all excellent. I’ll make special mention of Zack Krajnyak, who plays the lovesick sailor Anthony Hope, and Mary Thorne, an accomplished operatic soprano, as the beggar woman who provides a surprising, though tragic, twist at the play’s conclusion.
In this small venue, there’s no orchestra. Pianist Tom McDonough provided accompaniment that was perfect for the space: clear but not distracting.
Even if you’ve seen Sweeney Todd before, this production is, in my estimation, well worth seeing. If you haven’t, it’s a must. Again, you can buy tickets here.
Photo: Judith Jarosz