Cher Public

Something happened up there, something not very nice

Academy Award–winning actress Emma Thompson will portray Mrs. Lovett in the New York Philharmonic’s staged production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, March 5–8, 2014. The production will mark Ms. Thompson’s New York Philharmonic debut, New York stage debut, and first time performing the role. As previously announced, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel will star as the title character.

  • alejandro


  • Camille

    BUT…can she TRILL??????????

  • operaassport

    I can’t wait!

  • Porpora

    Can she sing? And will she coach the part of Angela Lansbury? I would.

    • She appears to have a light but pleasant mezzo-soprano.

    • armerjacquino

      Her first West End job was MT- as the heroine in ME AND MY GIRL.

  • Krunoslav

    Does that relegate Patti LuPone to playing the Beggar Woman?

    • armerjacquino

      They should get sister Sophie in for that! She’s got form in Sondheim- a wonderfully OTT Amy in Sam Mendes’ COMPANY. And imagine Mrs L and the BW as sisters! Layer upon layer…

  • Baritenor

    OH MY GOD!

    Please Televise this. Please.

    Do you think they’ll bring back the Lonny Price Production?

  • Orlando Furioso

    Lonny Price has, alas, been announced to direct.

    Inasmuch as “his” semi-staged production has been televised and released on DVD (and CD) already, I can’t imagine that anything in the audio or video line will be thought suitable for this one.

    Despite Mr. Price’s infatuation with LuPone, I think we’re safe from her being cast as the Beggar Woman, whose biggest vocal characteristic is sudden jumps into soprano-sounding head voice.

    As noted, Emma Thompson began onstage in musical comedy. And she had her own TV series in which she sang at least once per episode.

    • operaassport

      Please spare us Lupone and her one size fits all crass impersonations and singing. She makes Ethel Merman look like Dame May Whitty. Her Mrs. Lovett had an accent that wandered from London through Sicily by way of Queens.

      I remember seeing her Desiree and longing for Glynis Johns who could barely sing but conveyed the character beautifully. There was no way Madame Armfeldt could be Lupone’s Desiree’s Mother unless the character was played by James Gandolfini in drag.

      Btw, who has been cast in the other roles?

      • alejandro

        Her Carnegie Hall Mrs. Lovett was awful, but she was KILLER in the John Doyle production. She stopped trying to be cockney and just went for an Italian Nellie Lovett and I thought it worked well. Her Nellie Lovett was crass, vulgar, and very much a sexual being (I never believed Angela and George Hearn even slept together . . . but I totally bought that Patti and Michael were definitely getting it on). While I will always venerate the original cast (Sweeney is the greatest musical ever written, IMO) I really loved the John Doyle revival and LuPone’s performance.

        I also think she’s the last of the great musical theater stars (along with Bernadette). Her voice doesn’t sound like those generic belters you see nowadays. And she really acts her way through a song like nobody’s business. I saw her and Mandy do their show. Mandy was atrocious and embarassing, but Patti gave a masterclass in how to be a singing actor.

        • operaassport

          I completely disagree. She’s only a great singing actress if you consider Catherine Malfitano one. There is no subtlety. It’s all the same. She is only a great musical star because there are none. In the 30s and 40s, she wouldn’t even make the chorus. There are lots of “stars” today only because musical theater standards are so LOW!

          I must be the only one -- along with Martin Bernheiner -- who hated the John Doyle production. Sound and fury (well, not much sound) signifying nothing. I wanted music and got tubas!

          • alejandro

            Well, we’ll agree to disagree.

            She really excites me as an artist. I’ve seen her in Master Class, Sweeney, Gypsy, Women on the Verge, the show with Mandy and a GHMC Ethel Merman tribute where she sang Moonshine Lullaby without amplification, which was magic.

            I don’t necessarily think subtlely equals great acting. What I love about Patti is she’s Mediterannean, passionate, gigantic. She’s also very specific. Every As the son of Cuban immigrants, I’m perfectly at home with her approach.

            • operaassport

              I saw all those productions. She was exactly the same in every one: loud and crass.

              Please someone separate Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. I loved the production but the two leads were awful.

            • alejandro


              To you she’s loud and crass and to me she was awesome.

            • Sempre liberal


              Love Seth Rudetsky on LuPone.

              I loved her in Anything Goes and Gypsy.

              True story Gypsy pre-curtain announcement:
              Ms. Lupone has suffered a foot injury. (gasp!) However, she has agreed to perform, but she will be wearing her Isotoner slippers throughout the performance.

              She was amazing.

          • Grane

            Anything’s better than Helena Bonham-Carter and Johnny Depp.

          • Nero Wolfe

            I also hated the Doyle production. Worst I had ever seen. And hated Cerveris in it. Very underwhelmed by it all.

          • armerjacquino

            Everyone hated the CG SWEENEY too, but I thought both Allen and Palmer were pretty awesome- and I’m usually a little allergic to opera singers in MT roles.

        • operaassport

          The idea of Patti Lupone “getting it on” with anyone gives me shudders. Certainly not with Michael Cerveris. I totally believed Angela and Len Cariou (orig) had proper English sex!

      • Mrs Rance

        Bravo, Operaassport!

  • Love my Emma!

  • antikitschychick

    this sounds exciting! I too hope they televise it.

  • manou

    Sorry to deviate from the subject, but this

    is certainly worth a listen (all next week on iPlayer) if you have missed it live.

    (The intermission feature is lost in the mist of times -- maybe we need one twice weekly?)

  • javier

    Mrs. Lovett should be a good fit for Emma. She could speak the entire role and it would probably still me great.

  • stignanispawn

    Saw ET as a sweet cockney lady in Me and My Girl about 30 years ago — it will be interesting to see (and hear) her take as a cockney gone bad/mad in ST.