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NEW YORK — Emma Thompson will tread the boards in New York for the first time, taking on the juicy role of Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler‘s 1979 musical masterwork, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
But theater lovers hoping for a Broadway appearance by the two-time Oscar winner will have to settle for a production playing just five performances. The musical is being staged as a special event by the New York Philharmonic, running March 5-8, 2014, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.
Co-starring Welsh operatic bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in the title role, the show will be directed by Lonny Price, who also staged the Philharmonic’s starry 2011 presentation of Sondheim’s Company, headlined by Neil Patrick Harris.
Thompson’s character in the gory musical thriller is the unscrupulous widowed owner of a pie shop in 19th century London, who falls for the murderous Mr. Todd and hatches a plan with him to bake his victims in pastry.
Angela Lansbury won a Tony Award for the role in the original Broadway production, while Patti LuPone also received a Tony nomination for the acclaimed 2005 revival. Helena Bonham Carter played Mrs. Lovett opposite Johnny Depp in the 2007 Tim Burton film version.
Additional casting is to be announced for the Philharmonic production, which will be conducted by Alan Gilbert. While a number of Price’s past shows for the Philharmonic — including Company, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert, Camelot, Candide and a previous staging of Sweeney Todd — have been filmed either for theatrical release or television broadcast, no such plans have been announced yet for the upcoming event.
Thompson will hit screens nationwide on Dec. 20 as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, which also stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. (Watch the trailer below.)
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