Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd
at The Western Stage
Just in time for Halloween, The Western Stage continues its 30th Anniversary with Sweeney Todd…The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, one of Stephen Sondheim’s most macabre musicals. It’s been 15 years since the lecherous Judge Turpin falsely convicted Benjamin Barker and sent him to prison in order steal his wife. After escaping, he adopts the name Sweeney Todd, rents a room above Mrs. Lovett’s bakery—notorious for serving some of the worst (meat) pies in London—and opens a barbershop. When Mrs. Lovett informs Sweeney that his wife is dead and his daughter is being held captive by the corrupt Judge, they hatch one of the bloodiest revenge plots in musical theatre history. With his trusty razor, the Demon of Barber of Fleet Street vows to seek revenge on the ominous Judge and all those who stand in his way. Thus begins one of the darkest thrillers ever to take a Broadway stage.
Stephen Sondheim is a Broadway legend. He began his career under the tutorage of Oscar Hammerstein II. After serving as the lyricist for Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, he commenced building one of the most stellar careers in contemporary theatre with Broadway hits like A Little Night Music, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Assassins, and
Into the Woods. In 1987, the Tony awards program dubbed him “Broadway’s Poet Laureate”. (More can be found on Stephen Sondheim in the supplemental article.)
Hugh Wheeler, who wrote the book for Sweeney Todd…The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, began his career as a mystery writer before turning his hand to theatre. His other collaborations with Sondheim include A Little Night Music (based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles on a Summer Night) and a revision of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.
There are at least seven different versions of the Sweeney Todd story. In Victorian England, he was the hero of a “Penny Dreadful”, a newssheet peddled in the streets of London. He became such a household name that mothers would terrify children who refused to go to bed on time by threatening, “Sweeney Todd will get you if you don’t watch out.” These accounts are far more idealized and romantic than the true story of Sweeney Todd, who, according to evidence, did indeed murder his clients and dispose of their bodies in the tunnels below London through a hole he built into the floor. He was caught and tried in December of 1801 and met his end on January 25, 1802, strung up on the gallows before thousands of onlookers. His remains were donated to several “barber-surgeons” who left Sweeney like he had left so many before him, a pile of flesh and bones. More can be read about the true history of Sweeney Todd at http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/weird/todd/index_1.html?sect=3
TWS artistic director Jon Patrick Selover (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret, and A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, 2003) directs this production, which features local-legend Reg Huston (Fiddler on the Roof, 2000) who brings his operatic voice to the main stage as the demon barber himself.
Tickets for Sweeney Todd…The Demon Barber of Fleet Street are $25 for adults, $16 for seniors>65/juniors<25/military, and are available by calling The Western Stage Ticket Office at 831-755-6816 or visiting the website at westernstage.com. Sweeney Todd…The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm from October 9 – October 30, 2004. Group rates are also available. Due to campus construction, campus parking is recommended in the West Alisal Street lots between San Vincente Avenue & Amherst Drive. Complete directions are online at westernstage.com.
The Western Stage continues its Pearl Jubilee season in December with Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale musical, Into the Woods Junior and don’t miss Moliere’s Tartuffe, which opens October 22 and plays through November 20th.
Dan Tarker, Literary Associate
Directed by Jon Patrick Selover
Musical Direction by Don Dally and Rebecca Hathaway Nelson
Choreography by Lorenzo Aragon
Scenic Design by Theodore Michael Dolas
Lighting Design by Derek Duarte
Costume, Makeup and Hair Design by Fred P. Deeben
Sound Design by Jeff Mockus
Fight Choreography: Chris Graham
Stage Management by Zachary Brush
Sweeney Todd……Reg Huston
Mrs. Lovett ……..Susanne Burns
Anthony………….Ronald M. Livingston
Beggar Woman….Pat Horsely
Judge Turpin…….Chris Graham
Beadle Bamford…………. .Michael R.J. Campbell
Johanna…………Sarah Elise Murai
Pirelli……………..John G. Bridges
Bird Seller……… Michael Russell
Dancers…Kay Akervik, Justin Azevedo, Jillian Bagley, Tony Gonzales,
Marc Grossman, Tom Kiatta, Jennifer Martin, Sarah Elise Riddick,
Paul Salabedra, Adam Saucedo, Anna Shumacher, Reina Cruz Vasquez
Tenors………. Tony Gonzales, Tom Kiatta, Adam Saucedo
Quintet…..Kay Akervik, John G. Bridges, Ken Cusson, Jennifer Martin, Michael Russell
Ensemble… Kay Akervik, Justin Azevedo, Jillian Bagley, Meryl Bryant, Kathy Cusson,
Ken Cusson, Cindy Davis, Tom Donald, Diane Ehlers, Bill Ereneta,
Tony Gonzales, Marc Grossman, Tom Kiatta, Jennifer Martin,
Errol Osteraa, Sarah Elise Riddick, James Russell, Michael Russell,
Paul Salabedra, Adam Saucedo, Toni Serna, Anna Shumacher,
Reina Cruz Vasquez