The rumors have been confirmed: Josh Groban is returning to Broadway.
The singer will star as the murderous barber in a revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” — a highly anticipated production that “has been one of the worst-kept secrets on Broadway,” The New York Times reported.
The official announcement comes after months of speculation. In August, a report from Broadway Journal indicated that the massive production — a $14.5 million endeavor with “Hamilton” director Thomas Kail and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller at the helm — was underway.
Tony Award-winning actress Annaleigh Ashford — who starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in the 2017 Broadway production of Sondheim’s “Sundays in the Park with George” — will play Groban’s accomplice, the pie-making Mrs. Lovett.
In many ways, the production has been a long time coming for Groban, a longtime Sondheim fan who named his dog Sweeney. During his recent summer tour — which included a stop at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Arena — Groban included a cover of “Not While I’m Around” from “Sweeney Todd” on his set list. Additionally, the opening act on his tour, Eleri Ward, performed indie-folk renditions of Sondheim classics.
“We all have these roles that we think to ourselves, ‘If this were ever to happen, I would give it everything that I’ve got,’ and this is certainly one of those roles for me,” Groban told The New York Times.
Performances for “Sweeney Todd” begin Feb. 26, 2023, with the official opening night on March 26, Deadline reported. The production marks the latest in a series of Sondheim revivals that have been announced since the composer’s death in November 2021. A new production of “Into the Woods” has been one of the most popular Broadway shows this summer, according to The New York Times. The Off Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” premiering later this year and starring Daniel Radcliffe, has also generated a lot of buzz, per Deadline.
“Sweeney Todd” marks Groban’s second appearance on Broadway, following the success of his 2016 Broadway debut in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” It’s also the latest project in what has been a busy season for the singer, who just concluded a tour after releasing an album during the height of the pandemic.
“It was so humbling and a reminder after a long time separated from live performance with the people I love just how much I need it and how much we all need it,” Groban shared on Facebook last month. “Thank you to everyone who came out on these hot, cold, windy, humid, rainy, starry nights. You gave us so much love and stoked our fire and I can’t wait to share everything coming next.”