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This is about the stage musical. For the film adaptation see Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007 film).

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim based around the urban legend of Sweeney Todd, a barber who would slit his customer's throats before handing them over to his accomplice Mrs Lovett, who would bake them into meat pies.


Original cast (1979)

Video cast (1982)

Concert Cast (2003)

  • George Hearn - Sweeney Todd/Benjamin Barker
  • Patti LuPone - Mrs Lovett
  • Timothy Nolen - Judge Turpin
  • John Aler - Beadle Bamford
  • Davis Gaines - Anthony Hope
  • Lisa Vroman - Johanna Barker
  • Victoria Clark - Lucy Barker/Beggar Woman
  • Neil Patrick Harris - Tobias Ragg
  • Stanford Olsen - Adolfo Pirelli/Daniel O'Higgins


The company, representing citizens of London, drop a body bag into a shallow grave. As they sing, Sweeney Todd rises from the grave as though summoned by their song, and introduces the play, set some months before the burial. The company appear throughout the show as a Greek chorus to comment on the action of the play.

The year is 1846, in which the young sailor Anthony Hope has recently rescued Sweeney Todd at sea, and the two are riding a ship into London. On land, Todd's grim mood is worsened by a half-mad Beggar Woman who sexually solicits both men, and appears to recognize Todd. Before the two part, Todd discourages Anthony's innocence by describing a naïve barber (himself), his wife, and the judge who exiled him to pursue her. Todd soon enters a meat pie shop on Fleet Street, where the shop's proprietress, Nellie Lovett, laments about the difficult economic times. When Todd asks about her unoccupied upstairs apartment, she reveals that its tenant, the barber Benjamin Barker, was sentenced to life imprisonment on false charges by the corrupt Judge Turpin because of the Judge's lust for Barker's wife, Lucy; whereafter the Judge and his loyal cohort, Beadle Bamford, lured Lucy to the Judge's home and raped her. Todd's reaction to this narrative confirms Mrs. Lovett's suspicions that he is himself Benjamin Barker; and she tells Todd that his wife poisoned herself and that their then-infant daughter, Johanna, became a ward of the Judge. When Todd swears revenge on the Judge and Beadle, Mrs. Lovett reveals Todd's old collection of sterling silver razors, with which (she claims) he can resume his former office above her shop.

Meanwhile, Anthony notices an exquisite blonde girl singing to the birds sold outside her window, and the Beggar Woman tells Anthony that the girl is Johanna, Judge Turpin's ward. Unaware that Johanna is his friend Todd's daughter, Anthony is immediately enamored and pledges to woo her; but the Judge and the Beadle frighten him into leaving, and Anthony swears to seize her from them.

In the crowded marketplace, faux-Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli and his simple-minded assistant, Tobias Ragg, pitch a cure-all for hair loss; whereupon Todd, after exposing the elixir as a hoax, challenges Pirelli to a shaving competition, which he wins easily, and invites the impressed Beadle to a complimentary shave.

Several days later, Judge Turpin flagellates himself in a frenzy, and resolves to marry Johanna himself. Todd grows frustrated waiting for the Beadle's arrival, despite Mrs. Lovett's attempts to calm him. Anthony tells Todd of his plan to ask Johanna to elope with him, and requests to use Todd's barbershop as a safe-house for the girl; and Todd, eager to reunite with his daughter, agrees. When Anthony leaves, Pirelli and Tobias visit the shop, and Mrs. Lovett takes Toby downstairs for a pie. Alone with Todd, Pirelli reveals that his real name is Daniel O'Higgins and recounts having served as an assistant to Todd fifteen years ago. When O'Higgins attempts to blackmail his former employer, Todd strangles and conceals him. Having distracted Tobias with a promise of another pie and some gin, Todd cuts O'Higgins' throat. Johanna and Anthony plan to elope, while the Beadle recommends Todd's services to the Judge, in order to improve his appearance for better winning Johanna's affections.

Mrs. Lovett, having learned of Pirelli's murder, is panicked until she learns of the blackmail attempt, after which she seizes Pirelli's coin purse. She and Todd are planning to dispose of the body when the Judge enters, and Todd admits him; lulling the Judge into relaxation and engaging him in a conversation. Before Todd can kill the Judge, Anthony enters to tell Todd his and Johanna's plans, accidentally informing the Judge, who storms out, vowing never to return. Todd drives Anthony away before descending into madness, in which he vows to punish the rich and corrupt, and relieve the poor of their misery, by killing his clients, and Mrs. Lovett suggests that they use the flesh of Todd's victims in her meat pies.

Several weeks later, Mrs. Lovett's pie shop has become a thriving business, and Toby is working for Lovett as a waiter. Todd and Mrs. Lovett acquire a specially-designed mechanical barber's chair that allows Todd to kill his client and send the body through a chute into the pie shop's basement bakehouse for Mrs. Lovett to cook. Todd has accustomed himself to having lost Johanna, and spends his time cutting his customers' throats, while Anthony searches the city for her and the Beggar Woman shrieks against the foul-smelling smoke arising from Mrs. Lovett's bakehouse. Anthony finds Johanna when he hears her singing from an insane asylum, but he is chased away by the Beadle.

After a day of hard work, Mrs. Lovett tries to allure Todd with retirement by the seaside but he remains fixed on his revenge. Anthony begs Todd for help to free Johanna from the Madhouse, and Todd devises a plan to rescue her by having Anthony pose as a wigmaker intent on purchasing inmates' hair. When Anthony has gone, Todd sends a secret letter to notify the Judge of Anthony's plot, hoping to lure the Judge to his shop. The contents of the letter are sung aloud by a quintet from the company.

In the pie shop, Toby expresses suspicions against Todd and his own desire to protect Mrs. Lovett. When he recognizes Pirelli's coin purse in Mrs. Lovett's possession, she distracts him by showing him the bakehouse, instructing him to work the meat grinder and the oven, and then locking him alone in the basement. Upstairs, she encounters Beadle Bamford at her harmonium, commissioned by neighbors to investigate the strange smoke emitted by the pie shop's chimney. Mrs. Lovett stalls the Beadle until Todd offers the Beadle his promised "free shave"; whereupon Mrs. Lovett loudly plays her harmonium to cover the screams of the Beadle's demise above. In the bakehouse, Toby discovers a hair and a human fingernail in a pie, when the Beadle's fresh corpse tumbles into the basement. Above, Mrs. Lovett informs Todd that Toby has discovered their secret, and they resolve to kill him.

Anthony arrives at the asylum to rescue Johanna; but Mr. Jonas Fogg, the owner of the asylum, attempts to stop them. When Anthony is unable to kill Fogg, Johanna does so instead, and they escape. The asylum's inmates run onto the streets, ecstatically proclaiming the end of the world, while Todd and Mrs. Lovett hunt for Toby and the Beggar Woman calls on the Beadle to beware of Mrs. Lovett.

Anthony and Johanna, who is now disguised in a sailor's uniform, arrive to find Todd's shop empty. Anthony leaves to find a coach and he and Johanna reaffirm their love. Left alone, Johanna hears the Beggar Woman calling for the Beadle and hides before the frenzied woman enters the barbershop. The Beggar Woman seems to recognize the room; but before she can make sense of it, Todd arrives and slits her throat, sending her down the chute before the Judge arrives. Todd assures the Judge that Johanna is repentant and the Judge asks for a face massage and some cologne before reuniting with her. Once he has the Judge in his chair, Todd soothes and suddenly mocks him; wherefore, the Judge recognizes Benjamin Barker just before Todd kills him. He leaves to find Tobias, but catches Johanna; and not recognizing her in the sailor's uniform, he nearly slits her throat before Mrs. Lovett shrieks from the bakehouse below, providing a distraction for Johanna to escape.

In the bakehouse, Mrs. Lovett panics while struggling with the wounded Judge, who claws at her before finally dying. She attempts to drag the beggar woman's body into the oven, but Todd arrives before she can do so. When the light from the oven falls upon the dead woman's face, Todd realizes in horror that she is his wife Lucy. Under pressure, Mrs. Lovett confesses she concealed Lucy's survival from Todd to make him available to herself; and Todd feigns forgiveness and dances with her until she is in front of the oven, in which he incinerates her. Todd then embraces the dead Lucy and recalls his background-story. Toby, with his hair now white from shock and babbling nursery rhymes to himself, picks up Todd's fallen razor, and strikes at Todd. As Anthony, Johanna, and some constables break into the bakehouse, Todd falls dead and Toby drops the razor, heedless of the others, while absentmindedly turning the meat grinder.

Musical numbers

Act I
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" – Company
  • "No Place Like London" – Todd, Anthony and Beggar Woman
  • "The Barber and His Wife" – Todd
  • "The Worst Pies in London" – Mrs. Lovett
  • "Poor Thing" – Mrs. Lovett
  • "My Friends" – Todd and Mrs. Lovett
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise)" – Company
  • "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" – Johanna
  • "Ah, Miss" – Anthony and Beggar Woman
  • "Johanna" – Anthony
  • "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir" – Tobias Ragg, Todd, Mrs. Lovett and Company
  • "The Contest":
    • "Pirelli's Entrance" – Pirelli
    • "Shaving Scene" – Pirelli
    • "Tooth-Pulling Scene" – Pirelli and Tobias
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 2)" – Ensemble
  • "Johanna (Judge's Song): Mea Culpa" – Judge Turpin
  • "Wait" – Mrs. Lovett
  • "Pirelli's Death" – Pirelli
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 3)" – Trio from the Company
  • "Kiss Me" – Johanna and Anthony
  • "Ladies in their Sensitivities" – Beadle Bamford
  • "Kiss Me (Quartet)" – Beadle Bamford, Johanna, Anthony and Judge Turpin
  • "Pretty Women" – Todd and Judge Turpin
  • "Epiphany" – Todd and Mrs. Lovett
  • "A Little Priest" – Todd and Mrs. Lovett
Act II
  • "God, That's Good!" – Tobias, Mrs. Lovett, Todd and Company
  • "Johanna (Quartet)" – Anthony, Todd, Johanna and Beggar Woman
  • "By the Sea" – Mrs. Lovett and Todd
  • "Wigmaker Sequence":
    • "Wigmaker" – Todd and Anthony
    • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 4)" – Company
    • "Wigmaker (Reprise)" – Todd and Anthony
    • "The Letter" – Quintet from the Company
  • "Not While I'm Around" – Tobias and Mrs. Lovett
  • "Parlor Songs":
    • "Sweet Polly Plunkett" – Beadle Bamford and Mrs. Lovett
    • "Tower of Bray" – Beadle Bamford, Mrs. Lovett and Tobias
    • "Sweet Polly Plunkett (Reprise)" – Mrs. Lovett
  • "Final Sequence":
    • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 5)" – Company
    • "Fogg's Asylum" – Company
    • "City on Fire / Searching" – Company, Johanna and Anthony/Todd, Mrs. Lovett and Beggar Woman
    • "Ah, Miss (Reprise)" – Anthony and Johanna
    • "Beggar Woman's Lullaby" – Beggar Woman
    • "The Judge's Return" – Todd and Judge Turpin
    • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 6)" – Company
    • "Final Scene" – Todd, Mrs. Lovett and Tobias
  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 7)" – Company