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Stephen Sondheim gives theatre bosses his blessing for heavy metal Sweeney Todd

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Feb 16, 2014 | 12:30pm EST

Songwriter and composer Stephen Sondheim has given theatre bosses in Washington, D.C. his blessing to rework his Sweeney Todd musical as a heavy metal spectacular. Officials at the Landless Theater Company are staging Sweeney in the U.S. capital this summer (14), and they have Sondheim's permission to rock on. He tells the New York Times, "I did indeed give them my OK, on condition that they don't cut anything or change the order of things without my express permission. Since I believe that what keeps theatre alive is its openness to reinterpretation from generation to generation, I look forward to seeing what they do." And Landless' producing artist director, Andrew Baughman, tells the Times, "I think the jump to prog-metal orchestration is going to be pretty natural because Sweeney is pretty metal to begin with. The idea of a rock Sweeney has been brewing forever. "I imagine Mr. Sondheim shares our goal to make theatre accessible to young and diverse audiences, and agrees that Sweeney Todd has the potential to really excite a new audience.

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