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Sweeney Todd

November 21, 2007 | Susan King
OSCAR-WINNING production designer Dante Ferretti brings a dark and bloody Victorian England to its full Grand Guignol life in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd," a gothic horror tale of revenge and love based on Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning musical. Originally, it was planned that there would be minimal sets built for the film starring Johnny Depp as the demon barber of Fleet Street. The majority of the design would be done with computer graphics.
February 19, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle may be best known for "Trainspotting" and “Slumdog Millionaire,” but his globally upbeat opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics was named Theater Event of the Year on Sunday at London's audience-driven awards . The lavish spectacle of British history and culture, "Isles of Wonder," was loosely based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest. " It beat out the Susan Boyle bio-musical, "I Dreamed a Dream” as well as an arena tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Globe to Globe's" season of 37 plays in 37 languages that was part of the World Shakespeare Festival.
April 18, 1998 | DARYL MILLER
The lady baker Mrs. Lovett manages to turn questionable ingredients--murdered Londoners, plus random floor droppings for zest--into phenomenal-selling meat pies. The movie that tells of her unholy alliance with a vengeful barber/butcher--"The Tale of Sweeney Todd," debuting Sunday on Showtime--is just the opposite.
September 21, 2012 | By Mike Boehm
Theater is a notoriously ephemeral art, but the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is using its website to summon the decade-old glories of the 2002 "Sondheim Celebration," which closed 10 years ago this month. "The Sondheim Celebration: Ten Years Later" web page , which went up this week, is a retrospective of a retrospective that saw six of Stephen Sondheim's musicals staged in repertory over four months. The web page includes a new six-minute video in which Eric Schaeffer, the festival's artistic director, looks back along with cast members including Douglas Sills, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Christine Baranski, Melissa Errico, Michael Cerveris and Alice Ripley.
Is Stephen Sondheim the musical theater's most compelling voice? Lasers may make the strongest case yet for the writer-composer, whose "Into the Woods" came out last week (and is not available on videotape). Unfortunately, the case is made primarily from transfers of shows originally shot for television, which means that most don't have the crisp pictures achieved in transfers of musicals on film, such as "The Music Man."
December 13, 2007 | Ron Magid
Tim Burton's apocalyptic take on Steven Sondheim's Grand Guignol musical, "Sweeney Todd" -- wherein the demon barber's butchered customers plunge from his chair into meat pies -- sent prop master David Balfour ("The Da Vinci Code's" Codex) seeking some unusual inspiration: the painting "A Vision of the Last Judgment," by the great poet and artist William Blake. "I thought [Blake's work] would be quite apt for the feel of these razors," Balfour says.
October 18, 1989 | MARK CHALON SMITH
"Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" has always seemed like one of the oddest musicals, at least in plot, ever to come down the pike. A show about one of the first recorded mass murderers, an English barber who turned his clientele into meat pies? Oh sure, that'll be rich.
You wouldn't expect a room that was designed primarily for suburban city council meetings to serve well as a 19th century English chamber of horrors. Think again. Michael Michetti's staging of "Sweeney Todd," the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical, at the Scherr Forum Theatre in Thousand Oaks, is intensely focused, capturing the material's slashing irony, mordant wit, creepy jolts and final pathos.
April 24, 1998 | T.H. McCULLOH
If the new television version of "The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is any indication, there may someday be as many variations of the venerable story of the revenge-bent barber and Mrs. Lovett's scrumptious meat pies as there are of "The Phantom of the Opera." At this point it seems the most popular "Sweeney Todd" will still be Stephen Sondheim's musical, with a book by Hugh Wheeler, based on Christopher Bond's version of the 19th century tale.
"Sweeney Todd," Stephen Sondheim's dark and dangerous 1979 musical now at Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, presents a complex challenge to any company. This musical, based on Christopher Bond's 1973 play, which was in turn inspired by an incident more than a century old, tells the tale of an English barber who murders customers whom his landlady then grinds up and bakes into her increasingly popular meat pies.
November 8, 2010 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Stately and rumpled, Stephen Sondheim descended from an upper floor of his elegant East Side townhouse and submitted to the interview as though it were a necessary barber shop shave. He's used to these intrusions ? the artist obliged to natter on about his work was one of the themes of "Sunday in the Park With George" ? but this year the distractions have gone to a harrying new extreme. Sondheim turned 80 in March, and he's been blowing out the candles ever since. There was an all-star birthday concert at Lincoln Center (scheduled to air on PBS on Nov. 24)
May 10, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski will make a movie version of "BioShock," its hit video game about an underwater utopia gone disastrously wrong. The movie will be made by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC Universal owned by General Electric Co. John Logan, writer of "Gladiator" and "Sweeney Todd," was in talks to pen the screenplay, New York-based Take-Two said.
March 23, 2008 | Cristy Lytal, Special to The Times
During her career, 41-year-old food stylist Katharine Tidy has roasted pigeons with their feet intact, served up swan, and even baked the worst pies in London. This is not to say that she doesn't have some serious culinary credentials, however. "I had gone to a cooking school, so I knew how to cook," says Tidy, who enrolled in her first class at age 18 to learn how to make sushi and other Japanese favorites. "But food styling's a whole different proposition because it doesn't really matter what it tastes like.
March 14, 2008 | Charles McNulty, Times Staff Writer
Theater buffs are always waxing nostalgic about the golden age of the Broadway musical, but few have bothered to notice that we're living in a golden age of Sondheim revivals. For proof, check out the minimalist "Sweeney Todd" that opened Wednesday at the Ahmanson Theatre. Directed and designed by the British theatrical alchemist John Doyle, this Tony-winning chamber version distills the essence of what makes Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's macabre love child an un-categorizable masterpiece.
March 11, 2008 | Cara Joy David, Special to The Times
Performing a principal role in a major musical is challenging under ordinary conditions. But imagine having to master not one part but four. Then picture each role tied to a particular instrument or instruments. For Edwin Cahill, that's his daily task. The actor covers Anthony, Tobias, Beadle and Jonas Fogg in the touring production of director John Doyle's actors-as-orchestra staging of "Sweeney Todd."
March 2, 2008 | Laurie Winer
Attention, Johnny Depp watchers: He has not yet moved into the downtown loft he purchased last year in the Eastern Columbia building on Broadway at 9th, but his lawyer was spotted there the other day, and sources say Depp may have bought an adjoining loft for more privacy. Keep your eye on the 12th-floor apartment thats right under hisits listed at only $1.8 million, and it has incredible views to the south and east, a stunning bronze entry gate, really high ceilings and black toilets.
August 17, 2006 | John Horn
Johnny Depp wielded a cutlass in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Now he's picking up a razor for "Sweeney Todd." Depp will team with longtime collaborator Tim Burton to turn Stephen Sondheim's hit musical about a vengeful barber into a feature film, DreamWorks and Warner Bros. announced Wednesday. Production is scheduled to begin early next year, with the movie musical hitting theaters in late 2007, the two studios said.
December 18, 2007 | Adam Baer, Special to The Times
Six years ago, Johnny Depp received a curious gift. Tim Burton -- the director who immortalized the actor as Edward Scissorhands -- was visiting Depp in France and left a CD. "He didn't really elaborate other than to say: 'Listen to it,' " Depp said in New York before the premiere of "Sweeney Todd," the duo's film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning show about a vengeful and murderous barber returned from jail, where he'd been sent on a trumped-up charge.
January 30, 2008
Columbia/Sony "Across the Universe" "Surf's Up" DreamWorks "Sweeney Todd" "Transformers" Focus Features "Atonement" "Eastern Promises" Fox Searchlight "Juno" "Once" "The Savages" Kino International "Beaufort" Lionsgate "Away From Her" "Sicko" (with Weinstein Co.) "3:10 to Yuma" MGM/UA "Lars and the Real Girl" Magnolia "No End in Sight" Miramax "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" "Gone Baby Gone" "No Country for Old Men" New Line "The Golden Compass" "Hairspray" Paramount "Norbit" Paramount Vantage "Into the Wild" "The Kite Runner" "There Will Be Blood" Picturehouse "La Vie en Rose" "Mongol" ThinkFilm "Taxi to the Dark Side" "War/Dance" Universal "American Gangster" "The Bourne Ultimatum" "Charlie Wilson's War" "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" Warner Bros.
January 30, 2008 | Elizabeth Snead, Special to The Times
Costume designer Colleen Atwood, a six-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner ("Memoirs of a Geisha," "Chicago"), has spent a lot of time making the strange, dark cinematic dreams of Tim Burton come to life ("Edward Scissorhands," "Sleepy Hollow"). But "Sweeney Todd," the surreal slice-and-dice musical saga of a barber obsessed with revenge on the decadent society that wronged him, was her biggest challenge yet. So what did she do first? She listened to the music.
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