Thirty years ago, Stephen Sondheim’s gothic melodrama arrived on Broadway as the game-changer that would usher in an era of operatic opulence in musical theater — paving the way for the juggernaut of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and The Phantom of the Opera. In the decades that followed, Sweeney enjoyed revivals throughout regional theater, joined the repertoire of legit opera companies and was finally revived in a reduced concept in which the 10 performers also doubled as their own small orchestra. But now Musical Theatre West has returned Sweeney to his Grand Guignol roots, with a vast productions, faithful to Hal Prince’s original effort. Director Calvin Remsberg, who toured as Beadle Bamford with the original Broadway cast, has re-created the original’s power and majesty with help from a uniformly outstanding cast, partnered with musical director John Glaudini and his full orchestra. Not a moment of the nearly three hours lags in this gruesome story of the vengeful barber and the bakeshop proprietress, Mrs. Lovett, who contrive to make meat pies from unsuspecting tonsorial clients. Norman Large earns his last name in his huge performance as the cutthroat, and Debbie Prutsman is truly as fine as Angela Lansbury was in 1979. A Musical Theatre West production. www.musical.org
Sun., Jan. 31, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 7, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 14, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 31. Continues through Feb. 14, 2010
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