When Stephen Sonndheim's musical "Sweeney Todd" first came to Broadway in 1979, it was an epic production with a full orchestra. Director John Doyle's 2006 revival is a much more intimate staging. There are only ten performers who not only play all of the roles, but also provide the musical accompaniment.
It's Doyle's stripped-down version of "Sweeney Todd" that Hennepin Theatre Trust is presenting at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis through February 10th. The touring Broadway production stars David Hess as Sweeney Todd and Judy Kaye as Mrs. Lovett.
The Sondheim musical is based on the 19th century legend of a London barber who is driven to bloody revenge after a malevolent judge takes his wife and child from him. Sweeney Todd's neighbor, the pie-making Mrs. Lovett, helps him dispense of his victims.
Before an afternoon rehearsal, David Hess and Judy Kaye stopped by Minnesota Public Radio for a conversation with host John Birge. They shared their opinions of the recent movie version of "Sweeney Todd" and talked about the challenges of starring in a dark, emotionally-draining production while also playing the trumpet and tuba.