Fall is upon us, and thus it is once again time for the annual pre-Halloween show at The Spring Lake Theatre Company. This year, the beloved Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd will be terrifying the Spring Lake stage beginning on October 11th, and running through October 26th. It is produced by Patricia Barry and directed by Reid Henderson, with musical direction by Beth Moore and choreography by Christine Baglivio.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the powerful, tragic tale of Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, who returns to London seeking revenge against the evil judge who framed him. He partners with Mrs. Lovett, an unusually zany pie shop owner, who has an interesting method of hiding evidence of his crimes. This Tony Award-winning tale of love, murder, and retribution set against a backdrop of 19th Century London is sure to thrill and delight our audiences. “Pretty Women,” “Not While I’m Around,” “Johanna” are a few of Sondheim’s treasures featured.
To Director Reid Henderson, Sweeney Todd has a special meaning: “I saw this show for the first time when I was very young. Until then the only musical theater I had seen was more standard fare like Singin' in the Rain, Beauty and the Beast, and The Music Man. While I love big song and dance musicals, this show opened my eyes to a different kind of theater. I've been obsessed ever since.”
He worked with creative director Andrew D’Agostino to make sure the show had the right atmosphere:
“Stephen Sondheim calls Sweeney Todd 'a movie for the stage'. My main hope when approaching the show was to find a way to capture the scale and flow of the story in a way that felt cinematic. We have tried to accomplish this by using sets and staging that encourage the audience to imagine the surroundings and situations the characters find themselves in. You'll never be able to create a photorealistic set of London in 1849, but what you can do is establish mood and place through various methods that help the audience experience the same struggles and triumphs that Sweeney Todd and the other characters experience. The biggest challenge is also the thing I like most about the show. Finding ways to capture the scale and grandeur of the whole thing,” Henderson explains.
Returning patrons will recognize many veterans of the Spring Lake Theatre Company taking the stage in this beautiful production, as well as some newcomers in a cast Henderson calls exceptional:
“I have never been so excited to work with a cast. Not only are our leads wonderful, but the ensemble is out of this world. We have a cast of 34 incredible singers. Sitting in that theater listening to them sing the opening number is something I will never get tired of. It gives me goosebumps every time.”
In the title role of Sweeney Todd is Ian Moore. Ian has been performing on the Spring Lake stage for over 30 years and is no stranger to the pre-Halloween shows. He recently directed Young Frankenstein in 2017 and The Addams Family in 2018
Joining him as his pie-making co-conspirator Mrs. Lovett is Ali Gleason, another familiar face. She has also been involved in several of the pre-Halloween shows in the past, playing the role of Inga in Young Frankenstein and Morticia in The Addams Family.
In the roles of the young lovers, Johanna and Anthony Hope are Rebecca Madeira and Sean Openshaw. Christian Cieri will be playing the role of Tobias Ragg, the young boy who Mrs. Lovett takes under her wing.
Judge Turpin will be played by long-time Spring Lake Theatre Company veteran, and Ian Moore’s father, Doug Moore, with Steven Copp taking on the role of his henchman, The Beadle.
The Beggar Woman will be played by Laurett Gannon, with Tyler Cicardo as Adolfo Pirelli and David Fretz as Jonas Fogg rounding off the main cast.
The ensemble features Cosette Lyncheski, Sean McLaughlin, Erin Lucid, Ben Hahn, Laura Jackson-Jahnke, Madelynn Blunck, Michael Hazlett, Denise Alderman, Nicole DiLeo, Nicholas R. Hewgley, Donny Nikola, Donna Van Amen, Hannah Brodlie, Justine Bouton, Derek Rizzo, Claire McGowan, Brian Brundage, MaryGrace Iorio, Gavin Springer, Leslie Barlow, Patricia Skea, Sal Boyd and Leo Weismantel.
Find your tickets to Sweeney Todd here.