I love musicals.
Thing is, I’m extremely picky. Rodgers and Hammerstein? Don’t like ’em. Andrew Lloyd Webber? Annoyingly cloying without Tim Rice around.
For me, the penultimate composer is Stephen Sondheim. He’s a musical g-d in my eyes, one I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion. My favorite work of his is Sunday in the Park with George – perhaps my favorite musical of all time – but it was the brilliance of Sweeney Todd which first hooked me by the ear and dragged me into his stunning, syncopated worlds of dark and light. One of my favorite musical memories was from the early 90s, when I dated a filmmaker/composer – a man who was (and is) very talented and whose music is favorably reminiscent of Gershwin. We were at his place, going of photos of a short film we were working on, when music issued forth from a TV six feet away. My ears perked up as they recognized the opening strains from “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” – the first number in the show.
“Sweeney Todd!” I exclaimed with delight. My then-boyfriend cocked his head and asked me about it. He had, of course, heard of Sweeney Todd and the brilliance of Sondheim, but was unfamiliar with the work. I couldn’t believe my ears. How could a man who was eighteen years older than me and had been composing since he was a child not be familiar with Sondheim or Sweeney Todd? It was unfathomable to me. I took great joy in filling in that bit of lacking knowledge.
Suffice to say that Sweeney Todd? It’s a good thing.
Therefore, I’m sure it wouldn’t take too much imagination to conjure the slight bit of trepidation that I feel when contemplating the film version due to be released around Christmas of this year.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Tim Burton. I think the casting of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as Todd and Mrs. Lovett could work well. And the marvelous Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin is positively inspired. The trailers look excellent:
This is my baby. I am very protective of my baby.
Crossing my fingers…
(Too bad Anthony Stewart Head has been cut out of the movie. That would have been fabulous to see.)