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re: 1994 BBC Radio “Sweeney Todd” (post edited 47 times in the last 11 minutes :) )
Posted by: Someday 09:54 am EDT 07/02/22
In reply to: re: 1994 BBC Radio “Sweeney Todd” (post edited 47 times in the last 11 minutes :) ) - AlanScott 07:37 pm EDT 06/30/22

Alan, thank you for the very thorough answer. I had known some about the changes to the Contest, though not that Sondheim and Prince had become unreliable narrators about the specifics. Always enlightening to hear that one’s heroes are fallible.

On that note, I had always assumed the Beggar Woman’s rich doggerel was not only Brit- and lower class–specific, but also accurate to the era. Because — Sondheim. Fascinating to hear his English colleagues said some of it was inauthentic. I’m curious which words and phrases they objected to, and of course, which he chose to alter. If there’s a source or write-up on this, I’d be grateful to be pointed in its direction.

As for f’ing machine, I was stunned to hear it was in the Kennedy Center production, because I actually saw that one and have no memory of this! But maybe my subconscious does, and that’s why it jumped out at me so?

I contend Stokes was underrated, and I treasure my memory of him in the role. I didn’t see his Cervantes/Quixote, but I rank his Sweeney ahead of his Fred Graham and even his Coalhouse (though I’ll admit that one had the most theater-history import).

Stokes is the only Sweeney who legitimately scared me. I recall becoming flushed with actual chills of terror during Epiphany — and loving it! He also maintained flawless vocal control, of course.

I know he got decent reviews, but to my mind that performance might have become legendary had it happened in New York. Funny thing is, he could probably still do this today!

Producers, how about a Sweeney revival with Stokes? And for Lovett — Ann Harada, Beth Leavel, Sara Ramirez, or (obviously) Bernadette? Or more obviously… Audra.
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