This can only mean Sweeney Todd! The Tim Burton adaptation will star Johnny Depp as "the demon barber of Fleet Street" and is scheduled to start filming soon. Jim Broadbent has been widely reported as tapped to play the role of Sweeney's nemesis, Judge Turpin. As of this writing, to my knowledge no female cast members have been announced. For those unfamiliar with the mindblowing brilliance of Stephen Sondheim's musical classic, there are three female roles.
- Mrs. Lovett, the gleefully amoral owner of a horrid pie shop in London, Sweeney's willing accomplice and would be lover. It's the female lead. Angela Lansbury was the original Mrs. Lovett and her darkly comic performance is legendary. In the recent production on Broadway, Patti Lupone worked her magic in the classic role and won a Tony nomination.
- Johanna, Sweeney's sweet and swooning teenage daughter.
- Beggar Woman, a mysterious homeless woman who wanders in and out of the narrative and knows a great deal about the other characters.
Given Lauper's low profile as an actor, I assume this means she is in consideration for the Beggar Woman role but I really and truly hope we're talking Mrs. Lovett. This role requires a performer with a funny bone. Check. The role requires an amazing vocal gift. Check. The role requires star charisma. Check. It would be truly inspired and unexpected casting.
It's all well and good to have a huge talented star like Johnny Depp as the title character but it is actually Mrs. Lovett who is most crucial to any successful incarnation of this musical. She has a huge number of songs, she's a catalyst for much of the action, and she's also the comic relief. Before hearing of this tantalizing popstar possibility, I was hoping they'd go with one of two very legit actresses that have the right combo of dramatic range, comedic appeal, and powerhouse vocals: Imelda Staunton who is most famous for Vera Drake but happens to be an acclaimed musical theater star and Meryl Streep who we know can do anything, including sing her ass off.
What about you readers, who is your dream cast for Sweeney?
For lots more info on the musical, check out its Wikipedia page
* Thanks to my bosom buddy in Michigan, KristofferRobin (who you can spot occassionally in the comments on this blog) for making me aware of this.
Tags: movies, theater, Stephen Sondheim, cinema, Cyndi Lauper, Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Tim Burton, film, Broadway, musicals, celebrities