Cotuit Center for the Arts presents Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” on the Main Stage October 10 to 27. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. The show is directed by Mary Arnault, with music direction by Malcolm Granger.
“There’s more artistic energy, creative personality, and plain excitement in ‘Sweeney Todd’ . . . than in a dozen average musicals,” wrote the New York Times of this dark and twisted Victorian tale of corruption, injustice, lust, murder, meat pies, revenge, and love.
Director Mary Arnault describes Sweeney Todd as “a wild ride into a dark world – the revenge of a good man broken by a corrupt society. It is a centuries old penny dreadful, gripping and grisly, as relevant today as it ever was, sung in a gorgeous Stephen Sondheim Score.”
“We have assembled a stellar cast and crew and will present this masterpiece of musical theater in an intimate setting with outstanding production values,” says David Kuehn, Executive Director of the Center.
The cast includes Chris Schultz as the morose and vengeful Sweeney Todd, Bonnie Fairbanks as the cheerful, amoral Mrs. Lovett, Beau Jackett as the young, naïve sailor Anthony Hope, Emma Fitzpatrick as the beautiful young Johanna Barker, Gioia Sabatinelli as both the mad beggar woman and the charlatan Adolfo Pirelli, Ari Lew as simpleton Tobias Ragg, Peter Cook as the corrupt Judge Turpin, and Alex Valentine as the corrupt public official Beadle Bamford.
Production credits include set design by Andrew Arnault, lighting design by Greg Hamm, costume design by Alan Trugman, hair and makeup by Tom Crutchfield and the production features Misao Koyama in the pit.
“Sweeney Todd” opened on Broadway in 1979 and in the West End in 1980. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
Some say Sweeney Todd was a real person, but there is no proof of this. He first appears in 1846-47 in a story published in one of the weekly magazines known as penny dreadfuls. Real or not, he has captured the imagination of playwrights and movie makers ever since. The story was almost immediately turned into a play; an expanded version was published in 1850, and American version in 1852, and a new play in 1865. There were British films in 1926 and 1936, as well as Tim Burton’ highly acclaimed adaptation of Sondheim’s play in 2007.
Sondheim was inspired by Christopher Bond’s 1973 spooky melodramatic play. Sondheim noted that the story is received differently in England, where, “it is essentially charming . . . because they don’t take Sweeney Todd seriously. Our production was larger in scope. [Director] Hal Prince gave it an epic sense, a sense that this was a man of some size, instead of just a nutcase. The music helps give it that dimension.”
Sondheim has said that his “Sweeney Todd” was about obsession. “Todd is a man bent on personal revenge, the way we all are, in one way or another.”
Tickets are $40. There is a $5 discount for members and a $2 discount for seniors and veterans. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit artsonthecape.org, or call 508-428-0669. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit.
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“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Route 28, Cotuit
October 10 to 27, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM; Sunday at 2 PM
$5 discount for members; $2 discount for seniors and veterans