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Sweeney Todd: Tiny Desk Concert

My parents brought me to see a production of Sweeney Todd when I was 10; I had nightmares for weeks. That may have been the beginning of my obsession with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

"We're so grateful to sing Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece every single day," Josh Groban explains at the Tiny Desk. "He was so brilliant at juxtaposing the beautiful with the horrific." (It turns out that both Groban and I named our dogs "Sweeney Dog," something I learned when I introduced the cast.)

Expect a wave of emotions throughout this performance: empathy for Sweeney (Groban) and Mrs. Lovett (Annaleigh Ashford) with their songs of vengeance and longing, "My Friends" and "By the Sea"; desire with the quartet's vocal counterpoint performed in "Johanna (Act 2 Sequence)"; laughter with the duet's performance of "A Little Priest." Incredibly, this Tiny Desk version of the musical is no less impactful — the 26-piece orchestra currently playing the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre gets a nine-piece orchestration courtesy of Jonathan Tunick, Sondheim's longtime collaborator, led by conductor Alex Lacamoire. Absolutely mesmerizing.

SET LIST

  • "My Friends"
  • "By the Sea"
  • "Johanna (Act 2 Sequence)"
  • "A Little Priest"


COMPOSER

  • Stephen Sondheim


ORCHESTRATIONS

  • Jonathan Tunick


CAST

  • Josh Groban ("Sweeney Todd")
  • Annaleigh Ashford ("Mrs. Lovett")
  • Daniel Yearwood ("Anthony Hope")
  • Maria Bilbao ("Johanna")
  • Joanna Carpenter ("Beggar Woman")


MUSICIANS

  • Todd Palmer: clarinet
  • Damian Primis: bassoon
  • Sarah Boxmeyer: French horn
  • John Chudoba: trumpet
  • Kory Grossman: percussion
  • Adam Rothenberg: piano, keyboard
  • Anna Parks: violin
  • Wayne Smith: cello
  • Chiho Saegusa: bass
  • Alex Lacamoire: conductor
  • Randy Cohen: keyboard programmer
  • David Lai: music supervisor


TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer/Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Keren Carrión
  • Animation: Jackie Lay
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Audio Assistants: Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez and Neil Tevault
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Grace Widyatmadja
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Lars Gotrich, Hazel Cills
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Josh Rogosin (he/him) stumbled into NPR HQ in 1999 on his way to mixing shows at The Shakespeare Theatre in downtown DC. Since then, he has been at the controls for all of NPR's flagship newsmagazines and gathered sound in far flung places like Togo and Benin, West Africa, Cambodia and Greece for the Radio Expeditions series. He has engineered at NPR West and NPR NY and spent two years as Technical Director at Marketplace Productions in Los Angeles. He served as Senior Broadcast Engineer for New York Public Radio and Studio 360, and was an originating producer and sound designer for NPR's Ask Me Another.
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