Chicago Theater Review: SWEENEY TODD (Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace)

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by Tony Frankel on October 7, 2011

in Theater-Chicago

THIS MUSICAL IS MURDER

Dear Drury Lane Theatre:

Since your production of Sweeney Todd is closing this week, please allow me to write a love letter to you for giving me the privilege of witnessing the finest production of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece that this critic has ever seen. My first time was the original Broadway outing in 1979, which lacked an intimacy that the Drury Lane has, even though your seating capacity is 960. Seven revivals later and yours is the first to capture the majesty and intricacies of a challenging score that requires both a strong ensemble and muscular orchestra.

Sweeney Todd – Chicago Theater Review by Tony Frankel – Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace

You are to be commended for bringing this thrilling musical to a suburban audience: no audience member will deny the brilliance of Mr. Sondheim, but you must admit that the story – about a murderous Victorian London barber who exacts revenge on those who wronged him (aided by a loopy meat-pie proprietress) – is hard to swallow for some. After the boneless movie adaptation, you remind us why Broadway Musicals should stay in the theatre where they belong. Although it is a shame that more people will not be able to see this production, it was exciting to see such a packed house.

Sweeney Todd – Chicago Theater Review by Tony Frankel – Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace

Director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell found the perfect balance between humor and horror, even while she substituted real blood dripping from a razor for giant video projections of blood oozing down the rear of the stage. Although Gregg Edelman is a perennial Broadway actor, he was surprisingly strong as Todd, and Liz McCartney captured the essence of Todd’s abettor, Mrs. Lovett. But it was your astounding chorus that shook the rafters, especially the Quintet during “The Letter.” It was the first time that the chills from the artists’ talents matched the thrills of the story.

Here’s hoping that Rockwell can bring as much darkness to the upcoming Sound Of Music as she brought levity to the darkness of Sweeney Todd!

Sweeney Todd – Chicago Theater Review by Tony Frankel – Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook TerraceSincerely,

An ardent critic

photos by Brett Beiner

Sweeney Todd
Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace
ends on October 9, 2011
for tickets, visit Drury Lane

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

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