Arts Read of the Week: 3/3/14

How to write a critique about a specific show that is also a commentary on the scope of all of musical theatre…in under 600 words.

Leave it to Michael Billington of The Guardian to accomplish this astonishing feat.


In his recent article in the “Musicals We Love” section of The Guardian’s culture page, Billington discusses precisely Sweeney Todd the musical is one of his all-time favorites.


He talks about the various productions he has seen of the musical over the years and why they have “worked.” Then, he broadens his scope and talks about why the musical as a whole works on all levels, covering the dialogue, lyrics, music, and tragic and comedic elements.

His basic idea is that while many musicals can leave an audience member feeling happy, “it’s Sweeney Todd that continues to haunt my memory and strikes me as a work of art as good as any in 20th-century musical theatre.”


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