Sondheim Favorite Sweeney Todd

October 10th, 2003 by Adam

The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at Plymouth State University presents Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s chilling and suspenseful masterpiece of murderous barbarism and culinary crime October 23-26 at the Silver Cultural Arts Center.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical tragicomedy based on the legend of an unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and raped his young wife. Todd cooks up a hilariously macabre revenge scheme and the resourceful proprietress of the pie shop downstairs, Mrs. Lovett, soon has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe.

Director Kate Arecchi, adjunct faculty member of the department, says Sweeney Todd is the perfect Halloween time musical. “Based on the ‘Horror Melodrama’ of the same name written by journalist George Dibben-Pitt in the 1830s, Sweeney Todd (the musical) follows the title character as he and his accomplice seek murderous revenge on the people who have taken away all that was precious to Sweeney and ruined his life. Sweeney Todd is not your traditional musical theatre fare. It is dark; the comedy lies in some of the most morbid moments, but Sondheim has crafted the piece in such a way that you cannot help but root for Sweeney in his obsessive pursuit of revenge.”

The musical will be performed with a 10-piece orchestra comprising advanced Plymouth State students, professional musicians on the Plymouth State faculty, and other local professional musicians. Dennis Malfatti of Virginia is the guest conductor.

Arecchi says she particularly likes the way Sondheim juxtaposes the music with his lyrics in this show. “For example, in one of the most beautiful pieces of music in the entire show, Sweeney sings a heartbreaking goodbye to the daughter he will never meet, while he murders his customers,” she says.

Performance times are Thursday, October 23 at 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. Matinee performances are Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The Saturday evening performance will be interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Tickets are $17-12 at the Silver Cultural Arts Center box office, 535-Arts. Tickets are not available online for this performance.