SU Drama presents ‘Sweeney Todd’ through May 10
SU Drama presents ‘Sweeney Todd’ through May 10April 18, 2008Patrick Finlonstagepr@syr.edu
The Syracuse University Department of Drama closes its 2007-08 season with the heart-pounding musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” beginning April 25 in the Arthur Storch Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St. Directed by SU Drama professor Anthony Salatino, with musical direction by SU Drama professor Nathan Hurwitz, the show runs through May 10. SU Drama’s 2007-08 season is sponsored by WAER 88.3.
Based on the book by Christopher Bond, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, “Sweeney Todd” tells the story of exiled barber Sweeney Todd who returns to London in hopes of reuniting with his family and to seek revenge against Judge Turpin, the man who raped his wife, Lucy, and imprisoned his daughter, Johanna. Upon his return, Todd meets Mrs. Lovett, a bakeshop owner. Bloodthirsty and bitter, Todd opens a barbershop over Mrs. Lovett’s bakeshop, in hopes of luring the judge to him, and doesn’t hesitate to eliminate anyone in his path. Downstairs, the opportunistic Mrs. Lovett helps him dispose of victims with a new recipe for meat pies.
The original production collected eight Tony Awards and eight Drama Desk Awards. Hailed as a musical masterpiece, “Sweeney Todd” has enjoyed many productions over the years.
Salatino was attracted to the sensational story and intellectually suspenseful plot. “The dramatic language is rich in texture, rapidly shifting moods with recurrent themes and complex ensembles,” he says. “There is a kinetic structure that always pushes the momentum forward.”
Leading the way is Sondheim’s rich, multilayered score. The opening number includes a motif from the 13th century, “Mass for the Dead,” one of the many recurring musical phrases.
“It is musically assertive with its contrapuntal voicing, leitmotifs, challenging rhythms and vocal intervals,” says Salatino. “It has more `operatic’ values than other musical theater productions. But the audience can look forward to all kinds of musical elements: ballads, burlesques, marches, waltzes and patter songs.”
There are also many important sound effects in the show. Birds represent freedom from imprisonment, while the gears of Sweeney Todd’s barber chair and a piercing whistle represent the recurring theme of industrialization. Many themes can also be gleaned from the dark and sometimes comic tale of Sweeney Todd, including revenge, industrialization and class struggle.
The cast includes:
- Shannon Michael Algeo (Fop, Swindler, Ensemble), a junior from Rockville, Md.
- Eric Bilitch (Sweeney Todd), a senior from S. Pasadena, Calif.
- Kate Bodenheimer (Beggar Woman), a junior from New Canaan, Conn.
- Catherine Charlebois (Johanna), a junior from Andover, Mass.
- Dana Clinkman (Little Girl), a sophomore from Glenview, Ill.
- Kara DeYoe (Lady’s Maid), a senior from Wilmington, Del.
- John Galas (Judge Turpin, a senior from Granby, Conn.
- Arielle Gordon (Ensemble, Joanna Understudy), a senior from Studio City, Calif.
- Brody Hessin (Bird Seller, Clerk, Cop, Tobias Understudy), a junior from Littleton, Colo.
- Ian Joseph (Tobias), a senior from Long Island
- Danny Longoria (Pirelli, Tinker), a senior from Los Angeles
- Chrissy Malon (Mrs. Lovett), a senior from Biddeford, Maine
- Nadine Malouf (Mrs. Lovett), a junior from Melbourne, Australia
- Gordon Maniskas (Beadle), a senior from Manchester, Mass.
- Drew Moerlein (Mr. Fogg, Ensemble), a senior from Bow, N.H.
- Brendan Naylor (Ensemble, Turpin Understudy, Anthony), a sophomore from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
- Michael Rios (Urchin Boy), a sophomore from Brooklyn
- Emma Ritchie (Ensemble, Flower Seller), a sophomore from Huntington Woods, Mich.
- Stephen Simowski (Chimney Sweep), a junior from Farmington Hills, Mich.
- David Snyder (Grave Digger, Beadle Understudy), a junior from Ridley Park, Pa.
- Kelsey Stalter (Ensemble, Beggar Woman Understudy), a sophomore from Milford, Pa.
- Brendon Stimson (Anthony), a junior from Rochester
- Walter E. Tucker (Ensemble, Sweeney Todd Understudy), a sophomore from Philadelphia
- Shannon Tyo (Ensemble), a junior from Rochester
- Caitlin Westfall (Lady), a junior from Binghamton
- Katja Zarolinski (Mother), a junior from Pittsfield, Maine
Performances will be at 8 p.m. April 25, 26 and 30, May 1-3 and May 8-10. Two afternoon performances are scheduled, at 2 p.m. on April 27 and May 4.
Tickets for SU Drama’s production of “Sweeney Todd” are $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors. Rush tickets for $7 are available at the door a half-hour before curtain. April 30 is “Pay What You Can Night” for valid SU I.D. holders. For tickets and more information, contact the box office at (315) 443-3275 or visit http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.