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Bryn Terfel and 'Sweeney Todd' Headed for PBS, Wales

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on May 11, 2014 11:03 PM EDT

The New York Philharmonic's staged production of Sweeney Todd with Bryn Terfel, Emma Thompson, Christian Borle and, in some of the performances, an uncredited Audra McDonald ran for only four days at Avery Fisher Hall back in March. But aficionados of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's demon barber can catch all the cannibalistic fun on TV when PBS's Live From Lincoln Center telecasts the production, directed by Lonny Price, on September 26 at 9pm EDT.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street debuted on Broadway in 1979 directed by Harold Prince and won eight Tony Awards. But the show lends itself to varied interpretations. One of its two Broadway revivals was a stripped-down staging with just a handful of actors, including Michael Cerveris and Patty Lupone, playing all the parts – and the musical instruments. A 2007 Hollywood treatment starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

Can't wait till September for a little priest pie? Head to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales this summer, where Bryn Terfel will reprise the title role and head an all-Welsh cast in a special English-language performance of Sweeney Todd July 7. It'll be an appetizer for the music and dance festival proper, which runs July 8 - 13 and features the Cape Town Opera, the band Status Quo and the world premiere of Karl Jenkins's latest composition Adiemus Colores. And jugglers.

"I'm sure Sondheim himself would be very interested to hear it is an all Welsh cast too as he has a great affinity with Wales," said Terfel, a native of North Wales. "He even told me once that he’d like to write a piece based on the Mabinogion [collection of medieval Welsh folktales]. So who knows, we may see a performance of that one day at the Llangollen Festival."

Who knows indeed? Stranger things have happened. Especially in Wales. (Ever been to Portmeirion?)

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TagsSweeney Todd, Bryn Terfel, Lincoln Center, Stephen Sondheim

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