Once Tim Burton took over the reigns, auditions continued for reasons unbeknownst to many who found it impossibly obvious (in retrospect) which way the casting would go. The famously whimsical and gothic-loving auteur settled on the two actors he always settles on: Sweeney would inhabited by Johnny Depp (his six-time leading man and friend) and Mrs Lovett would be played by Helena Bonham-Carter (his five-time co-star and lady love). That neither could sing didn’t seem to worry the director though it worried Sondheim disciples not a little.
"The Ballad of Sweeney Todd," the glorious choral number that opens the original stage show foreshadows the narrative while painting a rather thrilling shrieking picture of the man in question (Sondheim has acknowledged the influence of Bernard Hermann, of Psycho fame, on his most acclaimed score). Burton’s first move is to slash "The Ballad" from the film version (it’s the cut that will be most obvious to Todd fanatics) in favor of a slower reveal of this bloody man through expository dialogue, general close up visualization --you can't get that on stage -- and sung through flashbacks, perhaps to surprise the uninitiated. To quote the tale end of the original number
What happened then, well that’s the play,Thankfully the number remains in spirit and is used admirably well in the underscoring. Though it’s my personal favorite song in the show I found that I hadn’t really missed it once the tale was told.
and he wouldn’t want us to give it away…
Not Sweeney Todd
The demon barber of Fleet
Read my full review @ Zoom In
Have you seen the movie?
I'd love to hear whether it met your expectations as well.