Johnny Depp’s a theatre geek…too

Posted September 19th, 2007 by Logan Young · 2 Comments

When my elder brother left home for college, I remember thinking that the appropriate response to such a life-changing (especially-for-me) event should probably include a tear or two. I mean my mom had been bawling her fucking eyes out weeks in advance, and I could tell that even my impossibly stoic father was a little unnerved standing there in the driveway watching Kenley load up his ’86 Buick station wagon with bulk Ramen and frozen pizzas. I myself did not cry though. Why? ‘Cause I ain’t no bitch, that’s why.

Granted I was more than a wee bit of a drama queer and had just started playing trumpet in the marching band, but I definitely was not gonna cry. Unless an errant Nerf ball hits them square in the nuts or some money-grubbing Jezebel makes off with half of their GBV records and porno mags, real men are otherwise physiologically incapable of crying. Crying never makes the situation any better – only whiskey can do that. Besides, now that K-Dog was outta the picture – and more importantly, left behind the better part of his CD collection (in ascending order of importance: early Aerosmith, Pixies, The Replacements, Bowie, Pavement, late Beatles) – maybe I might find something else to do with my time other than gay it up in My Fair Lady and try to play higher than Maynard Ferguson. And I most certainly did. I soon realized that any song which requires you to learn even the faintest trace of choreography isn’t worth knowing at all. (Years later, the week before my degree recital at USC, I would come to a similar conclusion – if you can’t plug it in an amp, it isn’t really an instrument either.) Jazz hands and hash marks aside, I still got as giddy as a Gilbert & Sullivan gavotte when I heard that 21 jump hunk Johnny Depp would be playing the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Tim Burton’s take on Stephen Sondheim’s spin of Christopher Bond’s Sweeny Todd.

In a casting coup not regularly seen in the whole live stage to overdubbed silver thing, Helena Bonham Carter will portray Depp’s accomplice Mrs. Lovett, Alan Rickman will play the evil Judge Turpin, and Borat himself Sacha Baron Cohen will no doubt yuck it up more than I did nearly a decade ago in the minor-ish role of Signor Adolfo Pirelli – Sweeny’s flamboyant “hair-cutting” rival.

More populist Wozzeck or Peter Grimes than your typical 42nd Street fare, Sweeny Todd – the musical, not that Juno glam band with Nick Gilder and Bryan Adams – remains the absolute finest, most forward-thinking piece in the entire Sondheim catalog. Theatre fags and their accompanying hags will always point to his lyrics for West Side Story, but with music by Bernstein, dancin’ and direction by Jerome Robbins and a book by Arthur Laurents, that’s just too many queens…even for Broadway. Pretty much all musical plots are ridiculous and far-fetched, but it’s asking a whole hell of a lot of suspended disbelief what with that Jets vs. Sharks malarkey. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll see Control and I’m Not There first, but only because Burton’s film doesn’t come out ‘til X-mas time.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eric Greenwood // Sep 19, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    “if you can’t plug it in an amp, it isn’t really an instrument either.”

    amen.

  • 2 Gayle Mithcell // Oct 1, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Johnny Depp is so great.. He is one of my two main idols that I will always love and stand by