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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is famously called Sweeney Todd. It is a musical play with a book by Hugh Wheeler and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
The musical is based on a play by Christopher Bond with the same title. The original play was created in 1973. Sweeney Todd's musical was first produced in 1979.
The character Sweeney Todd first appeared in a serialized Victorian fiction called penny dreadfuls.
The String of Pearl's story had this famous character and was first published sometime in the winter of 1846-47. It is the story of a murderous barber, Sweeney Todd.
Background Information and Production History
Inspired by the character, Christopher Bond has created a play that delves into the psychological backstory of Todd's character. The musical follows the same theme.
The original Broadway production premiered at the Uris Theater in 1979. It was directed by Hal Prince and had Larry Fuller as the choreographer.
Len Cariou played the lead role of Sweeney Todd. The Broadway version won eight Tony Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical for Len Cariou and Best Musical of the year.
The production team went on a US tour in 1980. The musical also opened in London in the same year. Denis Quilley played Sweeney Todd in this version. The musical was performed at Theatre Royal at the West End and received mixed reviews. However, it won Best New Musical at the Olivier Awards.
The Broadway version was revived in 1989 with Bob Gunton in the lead role. Susan H. Schulman directed the musical. This version is called Teeny Todd, as the set was a more intimate and small-scale production. It still went on to get four nominations at Tony Awards. The London revival followed in 1993 with Declan Donnellan as the director and won Olivier Awards in three categories.
Sweeney Todd has had more revivals- London revival in 2004, 2012, & 2015, Broadway revival in 2005, 2023, and Off-Broadway revival in 2017. The musical was also produced in several countries like Australia (1987, 2015-16, 2019), Budapest (1992), Barcelona (1995), Helsinki (1997), Dublin (2007), Sweden (2008), Paris (2011), Quebec City (2014), Wales (2015), South Africa (2015), Mexico (2018), and Philippines (2019).
There were many other productions and tours in the US and UK, including opera production and concerts. The musical was also adapted into a film in 2007.