‘Sweeney’ woos LuPone

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Patti LuPone has been confirmed to play Mrs. Lovett in the fall revival of “Sweeney Todd,” directed and designed by John Doyle. Opening is set for Nov. 3 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater.

Other negotiations, however, are still ongoing with regard to Doyle’s novel staging of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler tuner about an avenging, murderous barber. In Doyle’s deconstruction of the show, first presented in London, a pared-down cast of 10 doubles as the orchestra. (In the original 1979 Broadway production, over 20 actors and 20 musicians were employed.)

In the Roundabout’s recent revival of “Cabaret,” a few actors also played in the band, but they were essentially bit players. In Doyle’s London staging of “Sweeney Todd,” only the title character did not play an instrument onstage.

The doubling of thesps and musicians for the new Broadway “Todd” has not been taken lightly by the Local 802, and as a result, the negotiations between the musicians union and the show’s producers have been lengthier than usual. According to spokesmen on both sides, talks are ongoing and hopefully will be resolved soon.

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