Make-up-stained collars, sore muscles, late-night heavy meals... Actors have to suffer through so much for their art. According to Annaleigh Ashford, now starring as the devilish pie-making Mrs. Lovett in Broadway's new revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, she's been suffering a rather unique situation: finding stage blood in the craziest places.
In a recent visit to Late Night With Seth Meyers, the Tony winner likened it to glitter and... well, we'll let you watch the video and find out what else she compares it to. Maybe wait till after the kids leave the room.
Blood is, of course, to be expected in Sweeney Todd, which follows a vengeful barber who slits his customers' throats and then sends their bodies to his neighbor and accomplice Mrs. Lovett to become the main ingredient in her delicious meat pies. Ashford is sharing the stage with Josh Groban in the title role. Tony-winning Hamilton director Thomas Kail is at the helm.
The revival features Jonathan Tunick's full, 26-piece orchestration for the first time on Broadway since the 1979 original production, under the baton of three-time Tony winner Alex Lacamoire.
The original production, which debuted on Broadway in 1979, won eight 1980 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, along with Best Actor and Actress nods for original stars Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury. The work has gone on to be regarded by many as one of Sondheim's masterpieces, with its epic, operatic scale letting it be equally at home on the musical theatre stage as it is at the opera house. The musical was revived on Broadway in 1989 and 2005, and Off-Broadway in 2017, all presenting the work on a smaller scale with dramatically smaller orchestrations. A film adaptation, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, was released in 2007.
Groban and Ashford are sharing the stage with Jordan Fisher (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen) as Anthony, Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things) as Tobias, Tony Award winner and Laurence Olivier Award nominee Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I) as Beggar Woman, Maria Bilbao (On Your Feet!) as Johanna, Jamie Jackson (The Last Ship) as Judge Turpin, John Rapson (Les Misérables) as Beadle Bamford, and Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton) as Pirelli.
The ensemble includes Galyana Castillo, Jonathan Christopher, Taeler Cyrus, Timothy Hughes, Paul-Jordan Jansen, Alicia Kaori, Raymond J. Lee, Patricia Phillips, Samantha Pollino, Lexi Rabadi, Nathan Salstone, Kristie Dale Sanders, Stephen Tewksbury, Daniel Torres, Felix Torrez-Ponce, and DeLaney Westfall.
Rounding out the company: standby Jeanna De Waal, along with swings Dwayne Cooper, Kyrie Courter, Michael Kuhn, Megan Ort, Mia Pinero, and Hennessy Winkler.
The production features choreography by Steven Hoggett, scenic design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, special effects design by Jeremy Chernick, and wig, hair, and make-up design by J. Jared Janas. Casting is by The Telsey Office, and Baseline Theatrical's Nick Lygo and James Hickney serve as general managers. Cody Renard Richard is production stage manager.