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Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford lead a gloriously gruesome revival of ‘Sweeney Todd’

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Based on characters that first appeared in Charles Dickens’ penny dreadful serial The String of Pearls, Sondheim found inspiration after seeing a play adaptation, turning the murderer into a Victorian-era revenge tale with tragic consequences.Annaleigh Ashford (Welcome to Chippendales) appears opposite Groban as the moral-lacking pie shop owner Mrs.

Lovett, who’s happy to dispose of the evidence with a heavy-duty meat grinder. Also pulling its weight is a 26-piece orchestra featuring Jonathan Tunick’s orchestrations — heard for the first time on Broadway since the original 1979 production.Unlike Dickens’ source material, Sondheim and Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd is a murderer with motive.

Convicted of a trumped-up criminal charge by Judge Turpin (Jamie Jackson) 15 years prior, Todd returns to London to avenge his wife’s death and rescue his daughter Johanna (Maria Bilbao), whom the judge has taken as his ward with the intention of marrying her.

Coincidentally, Todd’s travel companion, a young shipmate named Anthony (Jordan Fisher), locks eyes with the girl and sets in motion a dual plot to rescue the girl from her creepy captor.Director Thomas Kail (Hamilton) and a powerhouse design team (Mimi Lien, scenic design; Emilio Sosa, costume design; and Natasha Katz, lighting design) lure the audience into the underbelly of late 18th-century London.

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