Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with Sweeney Todd Star Joseph Taylor
March 6th, 2017
by Joseph Taylor
Joseph Taylor makes his New York stage debut reprising the role of Tobias in the critically-acclaimed, sold-out Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd at off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theatre. The four original UK stars lead the environmental production, set inside a pie shop, through April 9 only, and they are can't-miss!
Get to know Joseph better below as he talks to BroadwayBox about performing Sweeney for Sondheim and Lansbury, adapting to life in NYC, and his love of Britney.
1. The thing I enjoy most about the New York run of Sweeney so far has been:
The audience reaction. People love the show in the UK but New York is its spiritual home, and it's quite humbling to share the experience with people who've seen twenty different productions and can mouth every word and yet still respond to it as if it were their first time watching. A week or so ago, a gentleman sat in the front and openly wept throughout the show. We can see all of you as we're performing, and your investment and love for the show is there on your faces! It's a very special thing.
2. Performing Tobias with Stephen Sondheim in the audience was:
A crazy, bucket list moment. The first time he came to watch I remember being backstage (in the literal pie shop kitchen) before "Pirelli's" and it was like an out of body experience. To be two feet away from the man himself, singing his music and lyrics was something I will never forget. He was laughing along with the audience during “Pirelli's” and my inner monologue was screaming. He is a fantastic audience member!
3. The most star-struck I’ve felt at Sweeney was:
Aside from Mr Sondheim himself, I was probably most taken aback by Angela Lansbury, who saw us in our second incarnation on Shaftesbury Avenue. She had just won an Olivier that weekend and she sailed in to the Pie Shop in a black leather jacket. She was SO COOL and the kindest, sweetest person afterwards. I grew up with her in many different ways, not least Sweeney Todd (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Beauty and the Beast, Murder She Wrote). It was amazing to meet a hero and have them live up to my expectations.
4. The most memorable audience interaction I’ve had:
Every night there's a funny interaction to be had. Without giving too much away—if you're bald, you're in my firing line—I had four bald men sat next to each other in a row at the perfect moment and the audience erupted. I will almost definitely not be so lucky during Pirelli's Miracle Elixir again...
5. My most cherished memory of the U.K. run:
I may sound like a broken record, but it would have to be Sondheim coming on our last night of the original Tooting run. We'd heard he may be coming a few weeks before and he had to cancel, so we weren't sure if it would actually happen. It must've been fate for him to be there on the last night, it felt like the most wonderful culmination of our hard work on this mad project and to share that moment with him and the rest of the company was very special.
6. Three things I’m loving about living in NYC:
1. Trader Joes! I don't know why they don't exist in the UK. Everyone seems so happy to be working there.
2. The new friends I've made. I've really landed on my feet with my roommates and the connections I've made since getting here. Maybe it's my accent doing most of the work, but people here seem more open to making friendships. I've made some great friends in unexpected places, such as the Women's March!
3. I know it's such a cliché, but New York truly feels like a 24 hour city. There's something to do and see at any time of the day and the pace of life is really exciting.
7. Movie I love so much I know every single word:
Oh my, there's quite a lot of options for me here—Scream, Mean Girls, Hocus Pocus, The Truman Show, Titanic... my castmates have come to realize I'm basically a walking quote machine.
8. A role on my bucket list:
I would love to play Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.
9. Thing I miss most about London right now:
I adore London and have lived there for six years and am loving my time in New York. I don't think what I miss is city specific—I miss my close friends and family the most but some of them are visiting very soon. I also nanny three girls when I'm not performing, if you're reading this, Loveday, Violet and Millie, I love you and miss you! And of course my cat, Scrabble.
10. Friends that know me know I totally geek out over:
Britney Spears. I don't think my friends would let me get away with saying anything else.
See Joseph Taylor in 'Sweeney Todd' at the Barrow Street Theatre through April 9.