Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Opening night of Sweeney Todd at the Geary Theatre was a festive affair.
Actors Conservatory Theatre celebrated its 41st anniversary, and the show, a touring version of the recent Broadway revivial, is a stripped down, slightly demented variation on the previous operatic original.
While it did leave me craving a viewing of George Hearn and Patti LuPone's rendition of Todd and Mrs' Lovett's Act I closer ("It's priest, have a little priest!"), this version did have some haunting and darkly funny moments. It's a classic, to be sure. Leads David Hess and Judy Kaye are great. I saw the original cast (Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou) at the Uris Theatre in 1979, with my mom!
The insane asylum theme in this version, and expressionistic take and set, makes for great theatre nevertheless.
Yet, it didn't seem to wow the opening night audience. Standing ovations were few at first, and no doubt nothing like the gaga raves I expect tonight at the (re)opening of the touring version (one of 10) of Mamma Mia! at the Orpheum. Sweeney Todd leaves you creeped out, and it's understandable. But seriously, how many shows have an ensemble cast that sings, acts and plays musical instruments, the entire score, actually?
Look for articles about the show and its star in this week's BAR.
At intermission, Armistead Maupin quickly walked by, as I sipped a glass of celebratory champagne among others, including my pal Seth Eisen, soon to perform with Circo Zero, and Todd Eckart of Robert Moses Dance Company, soon to perform in a show of gay male choreographers. More on those shows soon.
But who should saunter by, with a jaunty, if not decidedly passé, cap, but Laura Albert, aka J.T. Leroy.
My pals doubted that it was Albert, but she was sporting the same tacky hat as in the photo on my recent post about her lawsuit for fraud. The poor dear.
Maupin, of course, recently wrote the best-selling The Night Listener, about a woman who defrauds a writer with a fake sob story. Wouldn't it have been sweet to see the two in an intermission confrontation? Well, no. Maupin's much too polite for such antics and Albert would have simply slithered away.