THE HOLLYWOOD THEATER OF THE EAR
AN AUDIO MELODRAMA IN THREE DESPICABLE ACTS
WINNER OF THREE
Best Audio Drama
Best Original Work
Achievement in Production
In Fleet Street, that's in London Town
When King Georgie wore the crown,
There lived a man of great renown―
'Twas Sweeney Todd the Barber.
One shave from him and you'd want no more,
You'd feel his razor sharp,
Then tumble, wallop!, through the floor
And wake up playing a harp....
— English Music Hall Ballad
According to legend, Sweeney Todd had his barber shop at number 186 Fleet Street, London, next door to St Dunstan's Church, just a few blocks from the Royal Courts of Justice. On this site, they say, he robbed and murdered more than 150 customers. To dispose of their remains, he carried them through underground tunnels to the bakery of one Mrs. Lovett a few blocks away, where they supplied the stuffing for her meat pies, the favorite mid-day repast of the lawyers who worked nearby and who got their shaves from Sweeney Todd. The man you lunched with yesterday could be your lunch today!
The story first appeared in 1846 as A String of Pearls: A Romance, a best-selling "penny dreadful," or sensational thriller published in weekly installments. Before the final chapters even had a chance to hit the stands, the first stage version was packing them in at a London playhouse. Since then there have been numerous stage and literary versions of the story, most notably, of course, Stephen Sondheim's now classic musical.
This new audio version is loosely based on the original serial as published between November 1846 and March 1847 in The People's Periodical and Family Library. The author is unknown, but is widely assumed to have been Thomas Prest ― perhaps in collaboration with James Malcolm Rymer, putative author of Varney the Vampire, and other scribblers working for publisher Edward Lloyd.
Rosalind Ayres Col. Jeffery
Robertson Dean Narrator
Martin Jarvis Tobias
Moira Quirk Hector
Phil Proctor Captain
Burt Ross Sweeney Todd W. Morgan Sheppard Jonas Simon Templeman co-producer John Baker singers Tony Barrand
music director Steven Ovitsky sound effects Richard Fairbanks
Associate Producer Suzanne Schmidtke
songs: Ballad of Sweeney Todd (R.P. Weston); Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy (traditional); O Good Ale (traditional); How Pleasant It Is to Have Money, lyrics from Dypsichus by Hugh Clough, music by Tony Barrand
William Morgan Sheppard (Sweeney Todd) was born in London, but was raised and educated in Dublin, Ireland. Before his formal training in theater, Sheppard served in the Norwegian Merchant Navy. Upon continuing his education he earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, then went on to act with the Royal Shakespeare Company for twelve years. Now living in Hollywood, he has appeared in several episodes of different series of Star Trek. He has performed in audio plays by the L.A. Theatre Works and in Blackstone Audio's award-winning Sherlock Holmes Theatre. Aside from Star Trek, he is probably best known for his roles as Blank Reg on Max Headroom and Confederate General Isaac Trimble in the films Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.
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