REVIEW: Sweeny Todd Live at The Lunt Fontanne Theatre 

Prepare to be mesmerized and transported into the dark, macabre world of Victorian London with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York. This Broadway rendition of the classic musical is tailor-made for the heavy music fans. Most of us know the 2007 movie starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. Which is fine But it is barely the tip of that iceberg of the story. I suspect even fewer know or remember the Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote) and Len Cariou (Fraiser) original from 1979. That being said, this a timeless show you should see. From the opening number of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” to the finale, this the most diverse Broadway cast I’ve ever seen. 

The production itself is a visual feast,with stunning set design and atmospheric lighting that transport viewers to the gritty streets of Victorian-era London. It gave me Phantom Of The Opera set vibes at points. The haunting score, composed by Stephen Sondheim with the book by Hugh Wheeler, is brought to life by an amazing 26-piece orchestra, adding an extra layer of depth to further immerse the audience in the dark and twisted world. 

Nicholas Christopher brings a commanding presence to Sweeney Todd, his powerful voice soaring through the theater on “ My Friends” as he navigates the character’s descent into madness with chilling precision. His portrayal captures the brooding rage and anguish of Sweeney, drawing viewers into his dark and tortured psyche on “Epiphany.” He is also the first black actor on Broadway to play the titular role. He’s the reason I was compelled to write this review of a show I went to for fun. His performance adds a unique and powerful dimension to the character, infusing the role with a fresh perspective that resonates deeply with me. Another black man falsely convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. 

Opposite Christopher is Jeanna de Waal as Mrs. Lovett, who is equally mesmerizing, injecting a wicked sense of humor into her portrayal of the cunning pie-maker. De Waal brings a devilish charm to the role, her voice dripping with both seduction and malice on “By the Sea” as she concocts her sinister schemes. Her chemistry with Christopher ignited the stage, creating a dynamic duo that felt simply genuine. 

It just happened to be Joe Locke’s debut show as Toby. Known for his breakout role in Netflix’s “Heartstopper,” Who took over the role from another Netflix star Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things). Locke proves himself to be a rising star with his poignant portrayal as he navigates Toby’s descent into darkness. His rendition of “Not While I’m Around” is a highlight, it showcased his exceptional talent and emotional range.

Attending a performance of Sweeney Todd on Broadway offers a unique, theatrical counterpoint to a heavy metal concert, yet it shares that core essence of channeling intense emotions and storytelling through powerful, unforgettable performances. For a metal fan, the musical presents an opportunity to explore familiar themes of darkness, revenge, and redemption, but in a different medium, proving that the arts, whether on stage or in a mosh pit, a concept album or a show, it’s all musical theater. Hey, I saw it twice in same week! A great way to start Black History Month. It’s a must-see if you’re looking for a theatrical experience that embraces the darker side of storytelling. 

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