REVIEW: Razor-sharp ‘Sweeney Todd’ at NorShor

This review originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune and was written by Sheryl Jensen on March 29, 2019. // Photo by Nicole Modeen Photography for The Duluth Playhouse.

Tales of murder, the macabre and midnight’s bloodiest deeds have long held the power to capture our darkest imaginations and haunt our dreams.

Composer/Lyricist Stephen Sondheim mixes the style of the Victorian “penny-dreadfuls” and the Grand-Guignol in Paris, with their naturalistic and amoral horror stories, to create his classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The Duluth Playhouse production, directed by Melissa Hart, tells the tale of Sweeney’s path of revenge on the judge who took his wife and daughter from him and exiled him to an Australian prison camp.

Fifteen years later, when Todd returns to the scene of the crime, he encounters Mrs. Lovett running her grubby little bakery, on the first floor below his barber shop, where she makes “the worst pies in London.” The unlikely couple joins forces and their mayhem and madness terrorize the city.

Despite the horrific evil at the black heart of the musical thriller, Sondheim and book writer Hugh Wheeler mix in moments of humor and broad characterizations.





  • When: April 4-7 & April 11-14, 2019
  • Time: Thursday-Saturday @ 7:30pm // Sunday @ 2:00pm
    • ASL Interpreted Performance on Thursday, April 4 @ 7:30pm
  • Where: The NorShor Theatre (211 E. Superior St., Duluth MN 55802)
  • Tickets: 
    • Standard: $35-$50
    • Brunch and a Show Package: $60-$70 // Learn more about Brunch and a Show
    • Student Rush (25 and under): $25 at the door with valid ID the night of a performance
  • Purchase: // 218.733.7555 / In-person at the Box Office