Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?

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Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#0
Posted: 10/29/05 at 4:48pm
I really want to get Sweeney Todd on DVD, but I don't know which one I should get. I'm trying to decide between the 1982 version or the 2001 In Concert version. Any suggestions and also can you tell me why I should buy it instead of the other one?
Thanks a lot,
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Updated On: 10/29/05 at 04:48 PM
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#1
Posted: 10/29/05 at 4:54pm
1982
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#2
Posted: 10/29/05 at 4:56pm
I'm very partial to the 1982 version because of Angela Lansbury's Lovett. She is incredible in the role.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#3
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:03pm
DEFINITELY the '82 version. I don't particularly like the concert DVD--the show just doesn't work as as concert, and Hearn was way too old for the role by then (plus, he's not wearing any makeup, and doesn't look appropriately macabre).

EDIT: But I do prefer the concert CD to the OBC. It was a limited release, but I think you can get it on Amazon and/or the Lincoln Center website.
Updated On: 10/29/05 at 05:03 PM
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#4
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:13pm
The '82 version is a must-see for any Sweeney fan. The concert is worth getting for the enormous orchestra and a few standout cast members (Hearn, Neil Patrick Harris, Victoria Clark, and Patti LuPone as Lovett -- she's much better in the revival playing now, but I still am fond of this one), but nothing replaces the original DVD.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#5
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:15pm
The original DVD. I haven't seen the concert version, but the original DVD seems to be more intimate and more freaky. 1982.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#6
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:26pm
Victoria Clark was in the concert version?!
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#7
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:39pm
Clark was the Beggar Woman on the DVD.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#8
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:39pm
I don't recall that. She must've been the Beggar Woman.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#9
Posted: 10/29/05 at 5:41pm
Victoria Clark was the Beggar Woman.

Still it's a concert version, and this can't compare to the 1982 full staging. Hearn & Lansbury are reason enough to buy it.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#10
Posted: 10/29/05 at 6:05pm
I agree with everyone-but definitely get the concert version from your local library because it is worth seeing. It also includes a couple of sections that weren't in the '82 version, i.e. the Judge's whipping song and the Beggar Woman's Lullaby. I prefer some of the performances on the concert better-I think George Hearn is stronger in the concert that in the full scale show, though I feel many will disagree with me there. Victoria Clark is really fantastic as the Beggar Woman on the concert,and Lisa Vroman sounds gorgeous. Davis Gaines is too old to be playing Anthony but he gives the role a lot of passion and humor. The singers on the concert version are the real deal, except for Neil Patrick Harris, who still delivers acting wise. Stanford Olsen, Timothy Nolen and John Aler sing and act their roles beautifully.


BUT the main reason to get the '82 version is for Angela Lansbury, whom, in my opinion, Patti cannot hold a candle to. She has some ROUGH moments on that concert video. I also do not like the ensemble on the concert-too many people, and it didn't really capture what an important role the ensemble plays. I'm sure they sounded better live but something about how the sound is mixed for the DVD makes them sound very unbalanced.

So in short (HA), see them both!
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#11
Posted: 10/29/05 at 6:32pm
Since we're on the subject of the concert DVD, has anyone else noticed that it looks like Davis Gaines had electrolysis (sp?) on his face? He sings like a god, but looks like a woman.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#12
Posted: 10/29/05 at 6:40pm
Hah! Davis was WAY too old for the part. I just think he's wearing about 3 pounds of pancake makeup to hide Father Time. He also seems to be desperately trying to "act" young. He's working too hard.

Lisa Vroman and Victora Clark are both fantastic, and better in my opinion than their counterparts in the 1982 L.A. production. Davis and Chris (both as Anthony) are about a tie, for different reasons. I wish you could have seen Victor Garber, though!

Timothy Nolan is great in the concert version too. But I love seeing the original judge and Tobias on the first DVD.

They are both woth seeing, but picking just one... the '82 L.A. cast wins.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#13
Posted: 10/29/05 at 6:46pm
best12bars--

You mentioned something on another post about how different Victor Garber's portrayal of Anthony was from Chris Groenwhatever's was. In what ways was it different?
Updated On: 10/29/05 at 06:46 PM
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#14
Posted: 10/29/05 at 6:48pm
Get them both, it is well worth it. I myself prefere Lupone over landsbury, and yes I know this is a sin, but I think Landsbury was more into the role on broadway than she was on this short Tour stint for video. Betsy is awful as Joanna, her voice is so shrill that it really does hurt my ears to hear, but the production is truly something to see. The concert is also a spectacular staging and in my opinion better performances are delivered. George Hearn has only gotten creepier over time and Neal Patrick Harris is a joy to see on stage. So don't just get one, get both and enjoy both.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#15
Posted: 10/29/05 at 7:12pm
I prefer the concert version with Hearn, LuPone, Clark and Heidi Grant Murphy. I loved the way Lovett was portrayed. Its the only time I believed that Todd would actually be with her. Her performance is so sexy and gorgeous. Also, while most people said that they were turned off by "green Finch", I actually fell in love with the song and her performance. Its also very close to how it is currently being performed.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#16
Posted: 10/29/05 at 7:32pm
1982. Perfect cast.

From what I've heard LuPone is much better now than it the cocnert. In the concert she's decent, but Angela is amazing.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#17
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:09am
I recently bought the concert version and thought that it was good. I want to be able to compare Patti's version with her revival version. After I see Sweeney in December then I will probably buy the 1982 version to compare Angela's Lovett to Patti's Lovett. After reading the differences on here, I do not want to go with any high hopes. Now I am pretty open to Patti's portrayal.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#18
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:12am
1982
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#19
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:15am
besides, if you get the 1982 version, you may later want to get the Sondheim Collection, the concert version will be included and the 1982 Sweeney won't be. That's how things turned out for me.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#20
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:19am
I have both versions. I like the 1982 because it has the staging and stuff, but I prefer Lisa Vroman to Betsy Joslyn's Johanna. So I say maybe rent them and see which one you like better. I also prefer Davis Gaines in the Concert.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#21
Posted: 10/30/05 at 1:44am
jimmycurr01 -- the SWEENEY tour was 14 months--that is not short, and Lansbury was unbelievable in the role!
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#22
Posted: 10/30/05 at 10:45am
The Distinctive Baritone---I'll do my best to explain...

Chris's "Anthony" from the L.A. DVD (just like Betsy Joslyn's "Johanna") feels stiff and cartoonish. Over-the-top, really. They seem to both be directed that way in the tour by Hal Prince himself. It certainly doesn't appear to be an accident. Just as Betsy's approach comes off like "The Perils of Pauline," Chris seems to be playing Dudley Do-Right. He is steadfast and true, but too melodramatic. The emotions aren't real. (And his phony Pat Boone hair piece doesn't help his cause any.) I do like his singing voice though. He's a powerful singer. Chris has talent, I just think both he and Betsy were misguided in their parts. Why Hal Prince chose this strange directorial departure from the original Broadway production, I will never know. My guess is that he was finding these secondary roles to be too "boring" and wanted to liven them up a bit. But in doing that, he kills the truth in the characters. We don't feel either pity or real concern for their plight. It lessens the dramatic tension of the entire piece, if we aren't in pain when Johanna is in the asylum. It's a real tragedy.

Davis Gaines seems cartoonish as well, but less so than Chris, which is better. I actually prefer Chris's voice (not his interpretation though) to Davis's. Mr. Gaines' voice is way too mannered and affected for me. He seems to be chewing every note, but not for dramatic effect so much as a strange stylistic interpretation. (I think he played Webber's Phantom too long and can't get out of it now.) To me, he is sabotaging the material by doing this. And he seems to be "a deer caught in the headlights" every time the camera comes in for a closeup. As I said earlier it looks like he's trying to act young, when he clearly isn't.

Victor Garber is a terrific actor. No secret there. Both he and Sarah Rice approached their romantic roles with deep sincerity. They went for the truth in their characters. They weren't cartoonish or buffoonish. And you didn't feel they were going for any "unintentional laughs" to liven things up. "Kiss Me" is a great number, but rather than evoking chuckles and eye-rolls from the audience, it felt awkward between the two characters and also charming... the humor evolved out of the truth in their emotions and their situation... and it was even sad at brief times because of their circumstances. There were more "layers" involved. You can actually hear it coming through on the OBCR. They didn't know what to do with these over-excited emotions. Very nicely played. But you never once thought they were caricatures of historical melodramatic leads. And Victor sings this role the best (of the three "Anthony" performances I've seen here). He has real heart in his performance.

I hope that helps explain it.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#23
Posted: 10/30/05 at 11:00am
I prefer the concert version personally. But I'm a sucker for big chorus numners, and these ARE big. I bought the 1982 version later and it kind of disappointed me.
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re: Sweeney Todd DVD - Which One?#24
Posted: 10/30/05 at 11:46am
best12bars--

Thanks for your reply and for the info. I think that Anthony and Johanna could be played different ways. I'm not against the idea of Johanna being played as a little batty (i.e. Betsy Joslyn), as long as it's not overdone, and she's still pure and innocent. Anthony, however, must be sincere and true-blue, as he's really the only truly moral character in the show, and is, I think, kind of the "anti-Sweeney," representing all the things that the demmon barber is not. In that sense, Johanna is kind of the "anti-Lovett," but I think that making her a little flighty, a bit stir-crazy from all those years in Turpin's house is a sound choice, especially since by playing the role TOO straight, one risks falling into operatic soprano-ingenue parody.

That said, Chris' hair on the DVD is definitely not very convincing.