Monday, July 25, 2011

Local Travels: Sweeney Todd at Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center

Seeing a performance at  the outdoor Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center is a DC summer tradition, even when it is hotter than a sauna in Hades.  Last Friday I caught the National Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. A Musical Thriller.

Sweeney Todd is a Stephen Sondheim musical based on a Christopher Bond play that is loosely based on a nineteenth century story by the name of The String of Pearls.  The original story describes Todd pretty much as a monster, but  Bond and later Sondheim turn him more into a tragic hero that is motivated by heartbroken revenge instead of greed.

Long story short, Todd seeks to avenge the death of his wife by killing those he feels are responsible (and maybe a few others that get in the way), and the bodies are baked into Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies. 

 It would be so easy to make this story a gore-fest (people filled pies, hello), but the center of the musical are the very human emotions of love and revenge, which we can all relate to in one way or another.  How we allow these emotions to control our lives is completely up to us. Will we allow sadness, bitterness and hate to destroy us, or allow love to change us into something more than we currently are? Deep thoughts, I know.

Another lovely thing about Wolf Trap? Picnicking! Especially when you are sitting by Miss M, who shares her quinoa salad and roasted veggies. 

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