There’s not a lot of dinner theater in NYC—and thank goodness. We tend to associate such activities with cultural wastelands bereft of taste and talent. You know: Florida. The ham is lousy—the one on your plate and the one mugging through The Odd Couple. However, a London-born revival of the Hugh Wheeler–Stephen Sondheim classic Sweeney Todd might change your opinion.
This site-specific staging debuted in 2014 at London at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, the city’s oldest continuously operating pie shop. Audiences were invited to arrive early and enjoy their signature fare of pie and mash, a traditional English meal consisting of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce. New York audiences will be invited to enjoy the same experience at the Barrow Street Theatre with pies by former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama).
If you’ve never seen Sweeney Todd, you may be asking: Why pie? Spoiler alert: The plot hinges victims of the homicidal title barber being ground up and baked into meat pies. Todd’s accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, runs a shabby shop that suddenly gets a spike in trade.
Producers at the Barrow Street Theatre are selling “pie and mash” before the show, so you can get the full visceral experience. Show up no later than one hour before curtain time. For an additional $20 on top of the price of your ticket, you will get one pie (meat or veg), a heap of mashed potato with an optional parsley sauce known as “liquor,” and a beer, glass of wine or other non-alcoholic drink. Pie and mash may only be purchased in advance.
In case you’re worried the cooks might engage in “method cooking”: We have been assured no humans have been harmed in the preparation of the food. Below are ingredients for anyone with dietary or allergy restrictions. Previews begin on Valentine’s Day (how sweet). Details and tickets here.
“PIE & MASH” INGREDIENTS
Chicken Pie: Wheat Flour, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Black Truffle Zest, Chicken, Carrots, Vidalia Onions, Celery, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Sage, Jerusalem Artichokes
Vegetarian Pie: Wheat Flour, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Spaghetti Squash, Cauliflower, Lemon, Aged Parmesan Cheese, Scallions, Paprika
Mashed Potato: Yukon Gold Potatoes, Milk, Butter, Salt, Pepper
Parsley Sauce (“Liquor”) – Optional: Parsley, Watercress, Tarragon, Sage, Rosemary, Grapeseed Oil