Twitter delights in wacky ‘Sweeney Todd’ correction in Washington Post’s Stephen Sondheim obit

Both newspaper editors and Sweeney Todd know a few things about making the necessary cuts

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Monday 29 November 2021 19:29
Stephen Sondheim Tribute in Times Square.

It is perhaps another testament to the genius of recently deceased Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim that even the newspaper corrections discussing the composer and lyricist are fantastically interesting.

Twitter users noticed over the weekend a dark, whimsical addendum to the Washington Post’s obituary for Mr Sondheim, who died at age 91 on Friday in Roxbury, Connecticut.

“An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the barber Sweeney Todd slits the throats of his clients and then sells their bodies for meat,” a note at the bottom of the story reads. “He slits their throats, and then his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, bakes them into pies and sells those. This version has been corrected.”

As Law360 reporter Jon Steingart put it, “Heckuva correction.”

The Financial Times’s Sarah Ebner called it a “most excellent correction” on “the genius that was Stephen Sondheim”.

Twitter user @ricktrilsch joked about legions of “theater nerds” contacting the Post to make the change.

“Darn right there was a correction,” he posted. “I wonder how many theater nerds (like me) bombarded the @washingtonpost letting them know.”

Meanwhile, writer Amanda Duarte noted that in Sweeney Todd, just one of Sondheim’s many classics including Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods, it is in fact Mrs Lovett’s idea to bake people into pies and sell them.

“Um it was her idea so technically he was HER accomplice,” Ms Duarte wrote. “This is woman murder boss erasure and I will not stand for it.”

Beyond the Twitter jokes, tributes poured in for Mr Sonheim following his death.

Fans and Broadway performers, including Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda, joined together on Sunday in Times Square to sing selections of Sondheim’s work.

Jake Gyllenhaal, who starred in a revival of Sunday in the Park with George, called Mr Sondheim “the master and maestro of American musical theater.”

And, for good measure, here’s Emma Thompson singing about the “Worst Pies in London,” in the New York Philharmonic’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

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