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The first 200 words of this essay...
Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930) has written over twenty shows in the course of his career each one unique in its own way, but Sweeney Todd was his first to be considered an opera. With 80% music and only 20% spoken words Sondheim challenged the world of opera with the unconventional Sweeney Todd (Woolf, www.musicweb.uk.net/SandH/2000/july00/sweeney.htm). The irony of the success of Sweeney Todd is the fact that Sondheim himself claimed that he hated opera. Sweeney Todd opened on March 1, 1979 at the Uris Theater in New York and was directed by Harold Prince. Len Cariou and Angela Lansburry starred as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. Despite fairly a short run of only 577 performances, Sweeney Todd won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical (www.sjsondheim.com/SweeneyTodd.htm).
Sweeney Todd is adapted from a play by Christopher Bond who's play is based on the English myth of The Demon Barber of Fleet Street which is partly historically based. After a prologue by the chorus, the story begins in 19th century London where we see Anthony and Sweeney Todd arriving on a small boat. Anthony sings about how wonderful it is to be back home in London. A
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