20 March 2007 | Isaac5855
Another Brilliant Rendering of a Musical Masterpiece
For those who may have missed it on Broadway or the filming with most of the original Broadway cast, this film of the 2001 concert version performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra is equally as exciting. Director Lonny Price has assembled a first-rate cast for this concert version of the 1979 Gothic musical about the relationship between a demented barber hellbent on vengeance and the slightly daffy but lovable owner of a meat pie shop who falls in love with him. This version is almost more riveting because, as a concert version, with limited sets, costumes, and props, the audience is allowed to focus where their focus should be...on Stephen Sondheim's frighteningly beautiful musical score, flawlessly sung by a rock-solid cast backed by a first rate orchestra. Tony winner Patti Lupone puts her own spin on Mrs. Lovett, the pie maker originated on Broadway by Angela Lansbury. Lupone is careful to never mimic Lansbury and because she is technically a better vocalist than Lansbury, gives the musical portion of her performance so much more meat than Lansbury did. George Hearn, who followed original Sweeney Len Cariou on Broadway again proves to be the ultimate interpreter of this role in another powerhouse rendering of this richly complex role, which at times is downright bone-chilling, particularly in his rendering of "Epiphany" one of the most powerful pieces of music ever written. Timothy Nolen's brilliant interpretation of the evil Judge Turpin is a standout, including his rendition of "Johanna"...a song that was cut from the original Broadway production. Davis Gaines makes a strong Anthony and works well with Lisa Vroman, who is the loveliest Johanna I ever seen, offering a flawless rendition of "Green Finch and Linnet Bird". Victoria Clark is outstanding as the Beggar Woman and TV's Neil Patrick Harris makes a surprisingly devastating Toby. A once in a lifetime concert experience that will stay with you.