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Sweeney Todd (2005 Broadway Revival Cast)

80 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 31, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tony Award winners Michael Ceveris (Assassins) and Patti Lupone (Evita) lead a ten-person ensemble as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett in the cast album from the celebrated new Broadway production of Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Originally produced in 1979, and considered a core work of Sondheim canon, Sweeney Todd has not been seen on Broadway in more than sixteen years. The revival opened to unanimous raves at the Eugene O'Neill Theater.

The 2005 revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1979 Grand Guignol masterpiece Sweeney Todd illustrates what happens when you have a director with genuine vision. The show has been completely reivented, yet at the same time its dark core has been masterfully unveiled, not betrayed. In John Doyle's radically pared-down version (which originated in England), there's no orchestra in the pit: Each member of the small cast is on stage the entire time and plays one or more instrument in addition to singing. Thus Michael Cerveris (Sweeney) also plays guitar, Patti LuPone (Mrs. Lovett) plays percussion and tuba, Donna Lynne Champlin (Pirelli) plays accordion, piano, and flute, etc. Of course this means that those used to hearing Sondheim's operatic score delivered by a full orchestra (LuPone herself starred in a 2000 version recorded with the New York Philharmonic) will have to get used to Sarah Travis's minimalist arrangements. But the setting works wonders and the cast rises to the challenge. Cerveris is intensely charismatic as the murderous barber and LuPone finds great dark humor in Mrs. Lovett, while the younger Lauren Molina (Johanna) and Manoel Felciano (Tobias) aptly go from innocence to despair. While completely different in style, this recording stands proudly next to the original one. No small feat, that. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
  1. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. No Place Like London 6:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. The Worst Pies in London 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Poor Thing 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. My Friends 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd0:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Greenfinch and Linnet Bird 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Ah, Miss 2:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Johanna 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Pirelli's Miracle Elixir 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. The Contest 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd0:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Johanna 3:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Wait 2:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Kiss Me 1:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Ladies in Their Sensitivities 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Kiss Me, Part II 1:40$0.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
  1. Pretty Woman 4:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Epiphany 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. A Little Priest 7:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. God, That's Good! 5:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Johanna 5:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. By the Sea 4:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Not While I'm Around 4:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. The Judge's Return 6:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 31, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000CRR3P6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,979 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Mark Andrew Lawrence on February 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Now, by way of London, comes a re-conceptualized staging that had the New York critics spewing superlative praise. Starring Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris, it has become one of the biggest hits of the 2005/06 Broadway season, and Nonesuch has produced a 2 CD set of the new production.

This is a very different SWEENEY recording. Jonathan Doyle's staging takes it down to almost a chamber opera. Where once the emotions were played big they are now small and understated.

All of that comes through brilliantly on the new recording. Yes the smaller orchestration may take some getting used to - but not much.

What is frustrating are the gaps in continuity. (This was also a
slight problem with the original 1979 cast album: there are spots
where the OCR skips dialogue. Four LP sides were not quite enough to hold the entire 2 1/2 hour show.)

With the new Nonesuch set, the first act is fairly cohesive, but Act Two has some glaring gaps where scenes are skipped and because they are referenced in later scenes the cuts become even more obvious.

There is a story behind this. The label intended a single
disc "highlights" recording but discovered they had recorded 88
minutes of music - about 10 minutes more than a standard CD can hold. They could not afford t bring the cast back into the studio (for cast albums each performer is paid a week's salary) so they decided to spread the material over two not-very-full discs.

Fortunately, the label has included a thick booklet with pictures of the production, all the lyrics and a detailed synopsis to help fill in the plot-holes.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Steven Valenti on February 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
A minor complaint upfront: I wish they included the entire score.

Otherwise, this is an excellent recording of Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd": intimate, gritty, and very effective. The conceit of this production is well known by now-- the actors double as a minimalist orchestra and the action takes place in an insane asylum, suggesting a re-imagining of the horror through the eyes of the simpleminded, unwitting accomplice, Tobias. It's a brilliant, daring concept for a musical that's already, well, brilliant and daring.

On the recording, the stripped down orchestra works very well, drawing you into the characters and the story in a way that feels completely new-- even to someone who's listened to the original recording ad nauseum and hasn't seen this new production. The instrumentation keeps the horror close in a way you don't always get with a large size orchestra. (I would not, however, advocate that this version is definitive, just a fantastic new interpretation on its own terms.)

This new recording has a lot to offer. There are moments that are more spine tingling than ever: just listen to this version of "Epiphany," which is downright bloodcurdling in a way previous renditions didn't quite convey. The frequent reprises of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" have never sounded creepier. There is also a beautiful simplicity newly apparent in many of the numbers; the second act "Johanna," a highlight in every version of "Sweeney," has never sounded better. "Wait" and "By the Sea" also take on a renewed attractiveness. Everything becomes more impressive the more you think about the fact that the actors are completely responsible for all that you're hearing.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Muscial Man on April 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
While this recording is fine in its own respect, it just doesn't live up to the original. The original cast recording was massive, loud, and fierce, while this one is a little subdued. I really like both Sweeney's, and I agree that Michael Cerveris is quite creepy. There will never be anyone like Angela Lansbury, so wonderful Patti LuPone doesn't stand a chance. I think her voice is too nice for the part of Mrs. Lovett. Anthony Hope is my character in respect to singing, and Benjamin Magnuson just isn't Victor Garber. His voice sounds to old and operatic for the part. Anthony is supposed to be a young guy in love. One improvement, however, is the part of Johanna. While Sarah Rice was good, Lauren Molina has a much clearer and innocent voice. Sarah Rice's could be a bit too much a times. Altogether, it's not too bad, but I prefer the big sounds of the original cast recording.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Movie Man on July 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I wanted to like this more than I did, and I have the same reaction to the revival. Somehow, the revival and this recording extract all sense of "the human" from this show. Both on stage and in this recording, I see gimmickry (e.g. on stage--the Brechtian tendency of characters not to address each other or make full dramatic use of the stage; on stage and on this recording--the minimalist orchestrations, or a female Perelli). The gimmicky, in turn, detracts from the telling of a delightfully macabre and eerie story. And while I have no qualms with Lupone or Cerveris on stage, in this recording their characterizations somehow seem flat. I don't get the dramatic vigor, the emotional range--the "humanness" that the original recording provides.
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