Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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H. L. Hollingworth
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Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical by Stephen Sondheim about an English barber named Sweeney Todd who kills his customers and gives their bodies to his partner, Mrs. Lovett, who then bakes them into meat pies.

Musical Lyrics

  • "Swing your razor wide, Sweeney!
    Hold it to the skies!
    Freely flows the blood of those
    Who moralize!"
    • Ensemble (The Ballad of Sweeney Todd)

  • "There was a barber and his wife
    And she was beautiful
    A foolish barber and his wife
    She was his reason and his life
    And she was beautiful
    And she was virtuous
    And he was... naive"

Mrs. Lovett: Seems a downright shame
Mr. Todd: Shame?
Mrs. Lovett: Such an awful waste; such a nice plump frame whats-his-name has... had... has, nor it can't be traced. Business needs a lift, debts to be erased, think of it as thrift, as a gift, if you get my drift. Seems an awful waste. I mean, with the price of meat what is when you get it, if you get it...
Mr. Todd: Ahhh!
Mrs. Lovett: Good you got it! Take for instance Mrs Mooney has a pie shop. Business never better using only pussy cats and toast. Now a pussy's good for maybe 6 or 7 at the most, and I'm sure they can't compare as far as taste!
Mr. Todd: Mrs. Lovett, what a charming notion eminently practical and yet...
Mrs. Lovett: Well it does seem a waste
Mr. Todd: ...appropriate as always. Mrs. Lovett, how I did without you all these years I'll never know. How delectable, also undetectable, how choice, how rare
Mrs. Lovett: Think about it. Lots of other gentleman will soon be coming for a shave, won't they? Think of all them pies!
Mr. Todd: For what's the sound of the world out there?
Mrs. Lovett: What, Mr Todd? What, Mr Todd? What is that sound?
Mr. Todd: Those crunching noises pervading the air!
Mrs. Lovett: Yes Mr Todd, yes Mr Todd, yes all around!
Mr. Todd: It's man devouring man my dear,
Both: And who are we to deny it in here?
Mr. Todd: These are desperate times Mrs. Lovett, and desperate measures are called for.
Mrs. Lovett: Here we are hot out of the oven!
Mr. Todd: What is that?
Mrs. Lovett: It's priest. Have a little priest
Mr. Todd: Is it really good?
Mrs. Lovett: Sir, it's too good, at least. Then again they don't commit sins of the flesh, so it's pretty fresh.
Mr. Todd: Awful lot of fat.
Mrs. Lovett: Only where it sat.
Mr. Todd: Haven't you got Poet, or something like that?
Mrs. Lovett: No, you see the trouble with Poet is how do you know it's deceased? Try the priest. Lawyer's rather nice.
Mr. Todd: If it's for a price.
Mrs. Lovett: Order something else though to follow since no one should swallow it twice.
Mr. Todd: Anything that's lean?
Mrs. Lovett: Well then if you're British and loyal, you might enjoy Royal Marine. Anyway it's clean, though of course it tastes of wherever it's been!
Mr. Todd: Is that Squire on the fire?
Mrs. Lovett: Mercy no sir, look closer, you'll notice it's grocer.
Mr. Todd: Much thicker, more like Vicar.
Mrs. Lovett: No, it has to be grocer, it's green!
Mr. Todd: The history of the world my love,
Mrs. Lovett: Save a lot of graves do a lot of relatives favours.
Mr. Todd: Is those below serving those up above.
Mrs. Lovett: Everybody shaves, so there should be plenty of flavours.
Mr. Todd: How gratifying for once to know,
Both: That those above will serve those down below.
Mr. Todd: What is that?
Mrs. Lovett: It's fop, finest in the shop. Or we have some Shepherd's pie peppered with actual Shepherd on top. And I've just begun. Here's the politician so oily it's served with a doily, have one!
Mr. Todd: Put it on a bun, though of course you'll never know if it's going to run
Mrs. Lovett: Try the friar, fried is dryer
Mr. Todd: No the clergy is really to course and too mealy
Mrs. Lovett: Then actor, its compactor
Mr. Todd: Ah but always arrives over done! I'll come again when you have JUDGE on the menu.
Mr. Todd: Have charity towards the world my pet
Mrs. Lovett: Yes, yes, I know my love
Mr. Todd: We'll take the customers that we can get
Mrs. Lovett: High born and low my love
Mr. Todd & Both: We'll not discriminate great from small, no we'll serve anyone, meaning anyone, and to anyone at all.

(A Little Priest)

Tobias: Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please, are your nostrils a-quiver and tingling as well, at that delicate, luscious ambrosial smell,
Yes they are, I can tell!
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that aroma enriching the breeze
Is like nothing compared to its succulent source, as the gourmets among you will tell you, of course!
Well Ladies and gentlemen you can't imagine the rupture in store
Just inside of this door!"
Tobias: There you'll sample Mrs. Lovett's meat pies, savoury and sweet pies as you'll see. You who eat pies, Mrs. Lovett's pies conjure up the treat pies used to be.
Mrs. Lovett: Toby
Tobias: Coming
Mrs. Lovett: Ale there
Tobias: Right Ma'am
Mrs. Lovett: Quick now
Mrs. Lovett: Nice to see you deary, how have you been keeping, cor me bones is weary, Toby, one for the gentleman, hear the birdies cheaping, helps to keep it cheery, Toby, THROW THE OLD WOMAN OUT?
Mrs. Lovett: What's my secret, frankly dear forgive my cander, family secret all to do with herbs, things like being careful with you're coriander, that's what makes the graver grander.
Both: Eat them slow and fill the crust how thin I rolled it, eat them slow cause everyone's a prize, eat them slow and that's the lot and now we've sold it, come again tomorrow
Mrs. Lovett: Hold it!
Mrs. Lovett: Bless my eyes! Fresh supplies...

(God, that's Good!)

Mrs Lovett: A Customer!
Wait whats your rush where's your hurry,
You gave me such a fright, I thought you was a ghost for a minute,
Can't you sit, sit you down, SIT,
All I meant is that I haven't seen a customer for weeks,
Did you come here for a pie sir,
Do forgive me if me heads a little vague, what is that? bet you thought we had the plague, from the way that people keep avoiding, no you don't.
Heaven knows I try Sir, but there's no one comes in even to inhale, right you are sir would you like a drop of ale
Mind you I can hardly blame them, these are probably the worst pies in London, I know why nobody cares to take em, I should know, I make em, but good no! The worst pies in London.
Even thats polite, the worst pies in London, if you doubt it take a bite...
Is that just disgusting, you'll have to concede it the worst pies in London,
And no wonder with the price of meat what it is when you get it, never thought I'd live to see the day, many thought it was a treat finding poor, animals, what are dying in the street,
Mrs Mooney had a pie shop, does her business but I notice something weird!
Lately all her neighbors cats have disappeared
Have to hand it to her, wot I calls, enterprise, popping pussies into pies
Wouldn't do in my shop, just the thought of it's enough to make you sick,
and i'm telling ya them pussy cats is quick,
No denying times is hard Sir, even harder than the worst pies in London,
Only lard and nothing more
Is that just revolting? all greasy and gritty,
It looks like it's moulting, and tastes like...
Well pity im woman alone, with limited wind, and the worst pies in London.
Ah Sir, times is hard, times is hard.

Tobias: Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention please,
Do you wake every morning with shame and despair, to discover your pillow is covered with hair, what ought not to be there,
Well Ladies and Gentleman, from now on you can waken at ease,
You need never again have a worry or care, I will show you a miracle marvellous rare,
Gentleman you are about to see something what rose from the dead... On the top of my head.
Tobias: Twas Pirelli's Miracle Elixir, that's what did the trick Sir, true Sir true,
Was it quick Sir, did it in a tick Sir, just like an Elixir ought to do.
How bout a bottle Mr, only costs a penny guaranteed.
Does Pirelli's stimulate the growth Sir, you can have my oath Sir tis unique,
Rub a minute, stimulating in it, soon you'll have to thin it once a week.
Mr Todd: Pardon me Ma'am what's that awful stench,
Must be standing near an open trench
Mrs Lovett: Are we standing near an open trench,
Pardon me Sir whats that awful stench
Tobias: Buy Pirelli's Miracle Elixar, anything whats slick sir, soon sprouts curls,
try Pirelli's, when they see how thick Sir, you can have your pick sir of the girls.
Tobias: Wanna buy a bottle Mr
Mr Todd: What is this?
Mrs Lovett: What is this?
Mr Todd: Smells like piss
Mrs Lovett: Smells like.. eww
Mr Todd: Looks like piss
Mrs Lovett: Wouldn't touch it if I was you dear
Mr Todd: This is piss, piss with ink
Tobias: Let Pirelli's activate your roots Sir
Mr Todd: Keep it off your boots Sir, eats right through
Tobias: Yes get Pirelli's, use a bottle of it, Ladies seem to love it
Mrs Lovett: Flies do to.
                                          (Pirelli's Miracle Elixir)

  • "Do they think that walls can hide you
    even when I'm at your window
    I am in the dark beside you
    buried sweetly in your yellow hair."
    • Anthony Hope (Johanna)
  • "The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son Cleanseth Us from All Sins." - Inscription
  • "At last! My arm is complete again!"
    • Sweeney Todd (My Friends)

Non Musical Quotes

  • No! Not Barker. That man is dead. It's Todd now. Sweeney Todd. And he will have his revenge.
    • Sweeney Todd/Benjamin Barker


[first lines] Anthony Hope: I have sailed the world, beheld its wonders, from the Dardanelles to the mountains of Peru. But there's no place like London. Sweeney Todd: No, there's no place like London. Anthony Hope: [spoken] Mr. Todd? Sweeney Todd: You are young. Life has been kind to you. You will learn.

Mrs. Lovett: Mr. T, you didn't!

[looks into the chest, sees Pirelli's dead body and gasps. Shuts it]

Mrs. Lovett: You're barking mad! Killing a man what done ya no harm!
Sweeney Todd: [polishing his razor] He recognized me from the old days. Tried to blackmail me. Half me earnings.
Mrs. Lovett: [relieved] Oh, well that's a different matter then. For a moment there I thought you lost your marbles.

[opens the chest again and stares]

Mrs. Lovett: Ugh! All that blood. Poor bugger. Oh well!

[looks through Pirelli's jacket before removing his money pouch and examining its contents]

Mrs. Lovett: Well, waste not, want not!

[tucks it into her bodice]

Beadle: [after the judge has sentenced a boy to death by hangin] Thank you, your honor, just the sentence we wanted.
Judge Turpin: Was he guilty?
Beadle: Well, if not, he'd certainly done something to warrant a hanging.
Judge Turpin: What man has not?

Anthony Hope: You wait for him here. I'll return with a coach in less than half an hour. Don't worry no one'll recognize you. You're safe now. Johanna: Safe? So we run away and then all our dreams come true? Anthony Hope: I hope so. Johanna: I've never had dreams. Only nightmares. Anthony Hope: Johanna... when we're free of this place, all the ghosts will go away. Johanna: No, Anthony. They never go away.

Mrs. Lovett: Mr. T, are you listening to me?
Sweeney: Of course...
Mrs. Lovett: Then what did I just say?
Sweeney: There must be a way to get the judge...
Mrs. Lovett: Judge... Always harboring over that bloody old judge...

Adolfo Pirelli: [singing] I am Adolfo Pirelli, da king of da barbers, da barber of kings, e buon giorno, good day. I blow you a kiss! And I, the so famous Pirelli, I wish-a to know who has-a da nerve-a to say my Elixir is piss! Who says this?
Sweeney Todd: I do. I'm Mr. Sweeney Todd from Fleet Street. I have opened a bottle of Pirelli's Elixir and I say to you, it is nothing but an errant fraud, concocted from piss and ink. And furthermore, "Signor", I have serviced no kings, yet I wager that I can shave a cheek with ten times more dexterity than any street mountebank.

Adolfo Pirelli: Mr. Todd.
Sweeney: Signor Pirelli.
Adolfo Pirelli: Call me Davy. Davy Collins' the name when it is not professional. I would like me five quid back if you don't mind.
Sweeney: Why?
Adolfo Pirelli: Because you entered into our little wager under false pretenses, my friend. So, you might remember to be a bit more fore fright in the future. I'll be taking your profits from herewith. Share and share alike, Mr. Benjamin Barker.
Adolfo Pirelli: This will do nicely. You don't remember me, do you? Why should you? I was just a little nip that your hired for a couple of weeks sweeping up hair, but I remember this. How could I ever forget about you, Mr. Barker? I used to sit here quietly, dreaming I could be a proper barber myself. When I say that you was an inspiration to me. So, is we got a deal? Or should I run into the streets to my old pal, Beadle Bamford? What do you say to that now, [Italian accent] Mr. Sweeney Todd? [laughs sinisterly]
[Sweeney attacks Pirelli with a teapot]

Sweeney: NOOOOOOO!! Would you have mercy on her?
Mrs. Lovett: So it is you. Benjamin Barker.
Sweeney: Where is Lucy? Where is my wife?
Mrs. Lovett: She poisoned herself. Arsenic. From the apothecary around the corner. I tried to stop her, but she didn't listen to me.

Judge Turpin: [about Johanna] Where is she?
Sweeney: Below, your honor, with my neighbor. Thank heavens, the sailor did not molest. Thank heavens, too, she has seen the error of your ways.
Judge Turpin: She has?
Sweeney: Oh, yes, your lesson was well learned. She speaks only of you, longing for forgiveness.
Judge Turpin: Then she shall have it. She'll be here soon, would she?
Sweeney: Yes.
Judge Turpin: Excellent, my friend.
Sweeney: How about a shave? Sit, sir. Sit!

Sweeney: What's the sound of the world out there?
Mrs. Lovett: What, Mr. Todd? What, Mr. Todd? What is that sound?
Sweeney: Those crunching noises pervading the air!
Mrs. Lovett: Yes, Mr. Todd. Yes, Mr. Todd. Yes, all around.
Sweeney: It's man devouring man, my dear!
Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett: Then who are we to deny it in here?
  • Little Priest

[Johanna is being hauled off to the asylum]
Anthony Hope: Where are you taking her? Tell me or I swear I'll...
Judge Turpin: You'll kill me, boy? Here I stand!

Judge Turpin: How seldom it is one meets a fellow spirit.
Sweeney Todd: With fellow tastes... in women at least.
Judge Turpin: What's that?
Sweeney Todd: The years, no doubt, have changed me, sir. But then I suppose the face of a barber, the face of a prisoner in the dock, is not particularly memorable.
Judge Turpin: Benjamin... Barker...

Sweeney: [after finding out the Beggar Woman is his wife, Lucy] "Don't I know you?" she said. You knew she lived.
Mrs. Lovett: I was only thinking of you!
Sweeney: You lied to me.