Here are the first five minutes of the New York Philharmonic’s concert presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, w/Emma Thompson, Bryn Terfel, and Audra McDonald.
I first saw Sweeney at the Kennedy Center on its post-Broadway tour, w/Angela Lansbury as Mrs Lovett. She won a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for originating the role on Broadway, and when PBS broadcast a taped version, it got her an Emmy nomination as well.
I’ve seen more than half a dozen revivals of Sweeney since then, but that first time was memorable for more than just the magnificent theatrical experience. The week I saw Sweeney marked the end of a pretty unhappy time in my life, when I finally broke out of a long period of depression and self-imposed isolation. I came out of it in just about the best way I can imagine: Within a few days, I saw not only this masterpiece, but also Bruce Springsteen, live at the Capital Center. Springsteen was at his peak, playing four-hour concerts that exhausted his worshipful audience.
So I experienced two monumental 20th Century cultural high points in a single week.
PBS broadcasted the full Lincoln Center performance, and someone has posted it to YouTube.