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*Sweeney Todd,* 5/27/17

I saw *Sweeney Todd* at Barrow Street Theatre on 5/27/17. I've seen the show many times and now am putting it up there with *Gypsy* as one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. Did you notice that both shows have lyrics by Stephen Sondheim? Good work. I've listed all of my *Sweeney* productions below, each of them unique, each with their own particular (ahem) flavor.

I need to do a small spoiler before I continue: *Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,* is a musical about an escaped convict who returns to 19th century London to reunite with his wife and daughter and exact his revenge on those who had wrongfully imprisoned him. He meets up with Mrs. Lovett, the proprietress of a pie shop, and they form a grisly partnership: he kills people and she uses them for her meat pies.

This production originated in London in 2014. Producer Rachel Edwards had the inspired idea of staging the show at Harrington's Pie and Mash, the oldest pie shop in London (opened in 1908). The owner of the pie shop (and great granddaughter of the original owners) said yes, and the show played there for six weeks. Then they replicated Harrington's in London's West End (their equivalent of Broadway) in 2015, and ran there for thirteen weeks.

They opened in Greenwich Village in March. I've seen a few shows at Barrow Street over the years: *Bug* and *The Flick* used your typical rows-of-seats-facing-a-raised-stage configuration, but their revelatory production of *Our Town* remade the theater by removing the raised stage and putting the audience on three sides of a very small playing space in the center. That production starred Helen Hunt as the stage manager and was one of the most profound and startling things I've seen in my life. I wish I had reviewed it at the time.

I'm adding this show to the profound and startling list! I wonder if intense familiarity with the work at hand leads to a more profound and startling experience? That certainly was the case with *Our Town* and *Sweeney*... Ah well, that's a discussion for another time (or not). So the Barrow Street Theater has been transformed into Harrington's Pie and Mash. We enter down a narrow corridor and then come into the "pie shop," with the counter on the left, s