For one of my Directing Projects while attending the University of Texas Pan-American (now UTRGV), I decided to re-arrange several segments from the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I found a way to combine a couple of scenes from the play to tell one complete story encompassing the essence of the story.
First we start with the introduction of the character – so of course, I had to include The Ballad of Sweeney Todd – which pretty much describes his origins.
Following this number – all the cast disperses into darkness, leaving Sweeney Todd alone with his chair. As he sits, he thinks back on what happened to him, and what happened to his wife – how she was taken away by the merciless Judge Turpin, and he was cast out of London. For this, I combined two pieces into one The Barber and His Wife and Poor Thing (originally sang by Mrs. Lovett). While Sweeney sings in reminisce, the curtains open up behind him showing you the images of his mind – and he sees as his wife is taken from him, and then later tricked, and raped.
FUN NOTE: During the waltz section, I used an original composition called ‘Becca’s Waltz – I wrote it as a birthday present for a friend of mine (‘Becca’lise) while I was in high school.
As Sweeney weeps – an unexpected guest enters his barber shop. Why, it’s Judge Turpin. Sweeney’s reputation as the best barber in town has quickly spread, and the judge is here for a shave. The Judge has no idea who Sweeney was, and continues on as if getting a shave from a stranger. Having his prey exactly where he wants him – Sweeney savors the moment with a sweet duet with the Judge – they sing Pretty Women. During this song, the Judge reveals he plans on marrying his ward (who happens to be Sweeney’s daughter, now a teenager). As the song reaches the climax, a stupid boy enters the barber shop, and disrupts Sweeney before he attacks. The judge gets up and leaves.