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Director’s Brief: “Sweeney Todd” on a Loop

by Karen Azenberg

I have begun what I call my subliminal work on Sweeney Todd.

I’ve probably said this before, but one of the first things I do when working on a musical is learn the music.

I mean really learn the music—every beat, every accent, every fermata and caesura, every melody, every theme.

The easiest way to do this is to listen to the music as much as possible. When we were in pre-production for The Last Ship, I was working in Cedar City and that four-hour drive was a great opportunity for me to listen to that CD over and over again.

No long drives for me this summer—and airplane trips are reserved for reading scripts (that’s another blog post)—so my subliminal learning of Sweeney Todd happens in the mornings, when I go walking. My old dancer’s knees don’t allow for dance classes anymore, so my summer exercise routine is a brisk walk up the hills of the Avenues. Headphones in place, and Sweeney Todd on a loop, one act per walk.

It’s a start.

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