|Lucy Barker/Beggar Woman|
|Portrayed by||Merle Louise
Laura Michelle Kelly
|Aliases||The Beggar Woman|
Lucy Barker is a fictional character that appears in some versions of the story Sweeney Todd.
In the original legend and in the earliest melodramas and plays, Sweeney Todd has no wife or backstory and is the primary villain of the stories he appears in. His wife Lucy first appears in Christopher Bond's play. She is the faithful and loving wife of Benjamin Barker and mother of Johanna Barker, whose life is destroyed by the horrible Judge Turpin, who exiles her husband in order to have her all to himself. Soon afterward, Turpin rapes her, so she then poisons herself with arsenic. She does survive, but goes insane and disappears to live as a poor beggar, surviving on alms. Mistakenly believing her to be dead, Barker undertakes a long string of murders, with the ultimate goal of killing Turpin in order to avenge the destruction of his family.
In Sweeney Todd
Lucy Barker is the wife of Benjamin Barker, a barber in London's Fleet Street. They are happily married and have a new baby - Johanna Barker. Judge Turpin is immediately jealous of Benjamin because of Lucy's beauty and has Barker falsely arrested and exiled so that he may obtain her all for himself. Lucy ignores his pursuit, staying faithful to her husband, never once leaving home. Finally, she is lured to Turpin's estate, led to believe that the judge feels responsible for her plight and wants to help her.
This is not the case, however: Lucy arrives at Turpin's masquerade ball, where he drugs and rapes her. Lucy is so distraught that she attempts to kill herself with poison, but survives and is driven completely insane. She forgets everyone and everything she held dear and wanders the streets of London as a homeless beggar.
When Benjamin Barker, under the alias of "Sweeney Todd", returns years later, Mrs. Lovett, who was in love with him, leads him to believe that Lucy is dead. Lucy shows evident distaste for Mrs. Lovett, calling her a witch and constantly hanging around her meat pie shop. Eventually, when Johanna is upstairs at the barber shop, Lucy pursues her up the stairs, believing Turpin's minion Beadle Bamford to be in Todd's shop. Todd then shows up and Lucy begins to recognize him. He, however, does not recognize her, cuts her throat and drops her body down the chute. Downstairs, after Todd has killed Judge Turpin, Lovett recognizes Lucy's body and scrambles to get rid of her.
Todd enters and discovers that he had just killed his beloved wife, whereupon Lovett concedes that she lied to him because she was in love with him. Enraged, Todd throws Lovett in the oven to burn to death. Stricken with remorse, Todd holds Lucy's body and has his throat cut with his very own razor by the now-insane Tobias Ragg, leaving them dead in each other's arms (in the film version, Todd willingly allows Tobias to cut his throat in revenge).
- Merle Louise appeared in the original 1979 Broadway adaptation. She won a Drama Desk award for best featured actress.
- Dilys Watling played her in the 1980 London Production.
- Sara Woods played the role in 1982.
- Victoria Clark played her in the 2001 adaptation.
- Diana Dimarzio played Lucy in the 2005 Broadway revival.
- Laura Michelle Kelly portrayed Lucy in the 2007 film adaptation, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
- Julie Orlando played Lucy in the 2008 Prince George adaptation.
- Audra McDonald played The Beggar Woman/Lucy in the 2000 and 2014 New York Philharmonic concert versions.
In the musical Lucy Barker sings only one song by herself and many others with other characters. The tracks were all composed by Stephen Sondheim. The tracks include:
- "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Prologue)" (with Company)**
- "No Place Like London" (with Anthony and Todd)*
- "Ah, Miss" (with Anthony)**
- "Johanna (Quartet)" (with Anthony, Todd and Johanna)*
- "City on Fire/Searching" (with Company, Anthony/Todd, Mrs. Lovett and Johanna)*
- "Beggar Woman's Lullaby"*
- "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Epilogue)" (with Company)**
(* Edited for 2007 film)
(** Cut from 2007 film)