Sweeney Todd was the last and arguably greatest of the five groundbreaking musicals Stephen Sondheim scored during the 1970s (following Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Pacific Overtures). It is the first Broadway show that Sondheim himself came up with the idea to adapt into a musical; all his previous projects had been conceived by a collaborator.

While it’s unlikely there was ever a historical barber who sliced up his victims, baked their bodies, and fed them to unsuspecting passersby, stories of such a man go back hundreds of years. In 1846, a writer named George Dibden-Pitt,

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