Sweeney Todd -- Approrpriate for 14 year old?

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Lenexajones
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Coming to NY in March and have two tix for Sweeney Todd. My 14 year old son wants to go with me instead of staying in hotel with his 11 year old brother. Mom is willing to stay behing (she doesn't care for Sondheim! but would go reluctantly to see Lupone). Question: is ST appropriate for a mature 14 year old? Is this production too intense, or is it something he will remember when he is 60?
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Ehh. It is pretty complex. There's nothing really innappropriate for a 14 year old. Just really complex, and could be a chore for the average 14 year old to sit through.

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I'm going to ditto ljay to a degree. I think it may be a little to complex. I mean I'm only 16, and was 15 when I saw the show, but I'm obviously very into theatre. This kind of theatre was only fuel for my fire. It really depends on how open minded your son will be going into the show, and how completely he's willing to pay attention. From the way you worded your post it didn't sound like he wanted to be there as much as he didn't want to be in his hotel, and that could be a problem with this production.

But is it appropriate as far as the maturity level of the show vesus that of a 14 year old? Yes.
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My 12 year old brother liked the show and understood mostly everything.
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To add some more. While I think the show is incredible. An average 14 year old who isn't really into theatre - would most likely be bored to tears.

Even trying to get younger teens (who like theatre) into Sondheim could be hard. I know at 14, I couldn't get into Sondheim. It took a few years.
Updated On: 2/24/06 at 11:24 PM
Dirty Rotten Scoundrel
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I'm 15 and really enjoyed it, took me a while to understand the complexity of it, but now that I do I really love the show even more. I saw it with my 14 year old step sister who really loved it, despite the fact that she didn't really see the underlying themes, etc.

I think that what I had a problem with was that I knew virtually about the plot except for the fact that there was a barber who killed people to get revenge on a judge. If I was more prepared I think that I would be able to go in knowing what to look for, etc. So if you really wanted them to get into it, maybe introduce them with a plot..?
Updated On: 2/25/06 at 11:25 PM
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I'm 15 and I thought it was one of the best shows I have ever seen! I understood the themes and the plot line perfectly. But then, I'm just really smart..
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I am 47 and I don't think there is anything inappropriate for a 14 year old in this show. If you think he would enjoy an intense and complex story and not be bored then he will remember it for many years to come. I saw it last October and thought it an amazing theatrical experience!
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I saw this show when I was 11 or 12 and loved it and understood everything I think. I'd say, go for it.
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I don't think it's all THAT complex... I just think some people aren't very quick! There are intricacies that a youngin' wouldn't get, but it certainly isn't the most challenging play ever. I've heard stories about kids who saw it and loved it. I fell in love with this show before I was 10, so I think a fourteen year old could handle it. It has a macabre tone that appeals to kids who think they're seeing something they shouldn't be.

BUT the production itself may not appeal to somebody who isn't familiar with it before hand as they deliberately make the action confusing. You should buy him the cast recording if he likes theater.
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Oh, there's plenty to keep kids interested -- blood, murder, eating people, etc. I've loved the show since I was 11 or 12, and even when I showed my friends the DVD of the '82 tour with Hearn and Lansbury, they were entertained. It's fine for a 14 year old.
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I'm 14 (tomorrow) and I really love the score. My parents don't want me seeing it because they don't like the idea of canabolism and all that, but I would find it appropriate. In various Sondheim biographies, Len Cariou (original Sweeney Todd) says that little kids were in the audience scared ****less durring the original run (paraphrasing there).
Updated On: 2/25/06 at 10:08 AM
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It really depends on your son. If he enjoys going to the theater and seeing shows, then take him along. If he normally doesn't like theater, you might want to leave him with his brother. It isn't about how mature he is- just whether he will be interested or not.
There's a lot I am not certain of...
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sorry, double post!
There's a lot I am not certain of...
Updated On: 2/25/06 at 10:17 AM
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I say yes, it's fine for a 14 year old. I would just say that maybe going over the plot before hand would be a good idea. I am direct a teen theatre group and we are arranging a trip for them to see this in April.
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Everybody saying that he might not understand it is pretty silly. Going over the plot prior to seeing a plot-heavy show like this kind of wrecks it. I'm 15, I had no background for the show whatsoever, and I understood everything fine. The intelligences of kids are always being under-estimated. There's nothing particularly scary in it either (though I sometimes think there should have been, and what 14-year-old wouldn't want there to be?).
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Thank you, Scarywarhol. I took my 12 old to see it at City Opera, and would've taken him a year earlier. We saw the new one last fall, when he was 14, and he only got more out of it. I am startled by the number of posts who suggest it's too complicated. What do you think 14 year olds are reading in school? What do you think they are watching in many of those god-awful PG-13 movies?

What's more critical: Teens need to be exposed to the best of the arts sooner, not later. I have a friend who waited, always "protecting" her daughter from the darker elements in every b'way show (witness, LES MIZ). Of course, she awoke one day with a bland, INCURIOUS 16 year old, who by that point didn't have the attention span, patience, or powers of analysis -- or desire to see plays with her mother.

I shocked friends by taking my son to see THE BEAUTIFUL GAME in London, when he was 10. Guess what? He's the only kid in his peer group who knows bupkus about the Troubles, the IRA, and a piece of contemporary history not covered in this country. My philosophy: aim higher for your kid, not low. Raise the bar, and talk about the show and its themes afterwards. There isn't a magical age when kids will suddenly want to see more demanding fare. Expose 'em early, and they'll come along for the glorious ride.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 2/25/06 at 01:01 PM
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I'm 15 and just saw it. I knew nothing about the show other than the fact that Sweeney is a demon barber who kills people lol. I understood everything quite easily, but the production definitely makes you think. People have recommened becoming somewhat familiar with the plot line before seeing it, but I didn't and had no problem understanding it.
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Whether the show is appropriate or whether it will go over his head are two different things.

Yes, the show is appropriate. Not sure if he will "get it" or not, how is anyone sure?
"If you are going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy." -Charlie Manson
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There's nothing making it inappropraite. They'll be able to handle it. As long as they are able to follow and understudy the story, they'll be fine. I developed a HUGE Sweeney obsession when I was 14/15.
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I'm 14 and I saw Sweeney on Sunday. But I think it really depends on the maturity level and the attention span of whoever is seeing it. It's not a flashy show; it's definitely more conceptual. Also, the storyline can be difficult to follow if one doesn't pay attention to the lyrics. Some people find it helpful to read a synopsis of the show beforehand, though I did not and I understood everything.

I would say that it is appropriate. It's not really scary...creepy, but not scary. Just make sure that your son isn't expecting a spectacle like Phantom of the Opera. It's quite different. re: Sweeney Todd -- Approrpriate for 14 year old?
"A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing." - Thomas Jefferson
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Guitargeek may be the smartest 14 year old on here! I agree, I don't think it's particularly scary either. Maybe some night Michael Cerveris will leap into the audience and take somebody out. Then I'd be scared.
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It wasn't scary so he should be fine. But he may feel bored sometimes.
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Well, the kid is 14, not five. Big deal if it's a little scary.

I think Auggie has it right. Just give kids more credit.
yr ronin,
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There are some overly sensitive children who it might be too much to deal with. (Remember the 2ndary story of the judges lust for his ward Johanna and the way Tobias is dispatched by those he trusts?) it's an individual call. My 13 yr old neice would be fine but her 40 yr old mom would not!!
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