re: what about Julie Andrews? Shirley MacLaine? Rita Moreno? Gwen Verdon?
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 09:45 am EDT 04/16/24
In reply to: what about Julie Andrews? Shirley MacLaine? Rita Moreno? Gwen Verdon? - Chazwaza 02:04 am EDT 04/16/24

I love the idea of Madeline Kahn as Mrs. Lovett, but you're probably correct that the experience of ON THE 20TH CENTURY would make it unlikely that Prince would allow her anywhere near SWEENEY TODD, even if she'd been willing to entertain another potentially long run on stage at that time. I wonder if Judy Kaye, having made such a splash as Kahn's replacement might have been considered? I know she played it later several times in various productions.

I think the singing might've been challenging for Verdon by then, even though Lovett isn't really a hard sing, I don't think. Years of smoking had already taken their toll on Verdon's voice by the time of CHICAGO. And that's assuming that audiences would've even wanted to see her in a role with no dancing.

Andrews would have been a smashing choice, but, as per her autobio a few years back, one of the main reasons that she never returned to the stage (other than concerts) during her prime performing years was that she and Blake Edwards were basically living hand-to-mouth on a higher plane for much of that time and she spent many of those years as the family's primary breadwinner. She likely couldn't afford to return to Broadway and SWEENEY TODD probably couldn't afford to pay her the kind of salary that would make it worth her while to try.
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