Not While I'm Around (Sweeney Todd)
"Not While I'm Around" is a song from the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It is a duet between Tobias Ragg and Mrs. Lovett. Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979.
In the pie shop that Mrs. Lovett owns, she has taken in young Tobias, who was homeless, to be her helper. Tobias expresses suspicions about Sweeney Todd and states his desire to protect Mrs. Lovett, whom he has come to view as a mother figure. Mrs. Lovett is revealed to be not as nice as Tobias had initially thought.
Variety described this song as "tender and haunting", noting that street urchin Tobias "becomes, for a moment, her surrogate son". Reviewing the 2007 film, Rolling Stone wrote "Bonham Carter evokes chills in 'Not While I'm Around,' a ballad of devotion she croons to her young apprentice, Toby, just before she arranges his demise". The scoresheet website JW Pepper wrote "This unforgettable ballad from Sweeney Todd will create a moment of tenderness in your concert". The New York Times wrote (of a regional stage production): "The contrast of lush ballads and menacing circumstances...occurs with 'Pretty Women,' sung by Sweeney and Judge Turpin, and 'Not While I’m Around,' sung protectively to Mrs. Lovett by her young aide, Tobias Ragg".
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