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LAist Recommends: Sweeney Todd at the Ahmanson

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The company of "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" | Photo by

Written by Stephen Sondheim, the original "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is a classic. The most recent Tim Burton screen adaptation of Edward Sissorhands the musical was "meh." And last night's Los Angeles premiere under John Doyle's direction was, simply put, purely amazing.

It begins as the lights go down in the house and up on stage. It's an uncomfortable raw silence that the audience succumbs to. There's no sound, no music, just the actors, looking out into nothingness from a set that was minimalist and visually orgasmic for the macabre-inclined. The performance begins, every actor with their instrument in hand, they speak, they sing and they accompany themselves, as the orchestra pit is empty -- it's up to the ten characters to survive the next two-hours on their own.

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A talk with Lauren Molina, Johanna/cello player

This version of Sweeney Todd came out in 2005 on Broadway to raving reviews, eventually being nominated for a few Tonys and winning Best Direction and Best Orchestration. It's more avante-garde than your usual musical fare, but we like it that way. You will too.

A talk with Benjamin Eakeley, The Beadle/piano/clarinet/saxophone player

Sweeney Todd plays through April 6th at the Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. Tickets run $25-$90.

Hear Music Director Andy Einhorn talk about the production

Audio podcasts by Center Theatre Group