Sweeney Todd | Stage 773 | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 16 2014
Price: $39-$45
"For what's the sound of the world out there / Those crunching noises pervading the air?" sings the title character of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's 1979 musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in the show's first-act finale. He then answers his own question with relish: "It's man devouring man, my dear / And who are we to deny it in here?" The story of Sweeney Todd is part of a literary and dramatic genre whose popularity challenged 19th-century Britain's facade of imperial power and Christian moral superiority: gothic horror, which plumbed the emotional and psychic chaos swirling underneath the veneer of Victorian propriety. First appearing as a "penny dreadful" serial, "The String of Pearls," in 1846, the tale may or may not have echoed the real-life case of a Parisian serial killer; but whether fact-based or purely fictional, it has gripped the public imagination for more than 150 years. It concerns a barber whose tonsorial parlor in London's Fleet Street is really a house of horrors. Todd (his name echoes Tod, the German word for "death") lures customers into his shop, slits their throats with his straight razor, and then drops them down a trapdoor, where they're chuted into the basement of an adjacent bakery. There, Todd's companion, Nellie Lovett, bakes the carcasses into meat pies. Continue reading >>

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