WestConn’s Sweeney Todd Production Promises to ‘Engage and Entertain’

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by Zulai Serrano
from The Echo

Photo by Peggy Stewart.  WestConn actors rehearse for "Sweeney Todd".

THE DEMON BARBER Sweeney Todd will bring his infamous razor blades and tons of blood to the Western Connecticut State University (WestConn) Berkshire Theatre stage at 7pm on starting on Wednesday, October 26.

The WestConn Theatre Arts Department production’s director, Pam McDaniel, chose to stage the “blood and gore” story based on the intricacy of the unfolding plot.

by Zulai Serrano
from The Echo

 


 

THE DEMON BARBER Sweeney Todd will bring his infamous razor blades and tons of blood to the Western Connecticut State University (WestConn) Berkshire Theatre stage at 7pm on starting on Wednesday, October 26.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is a musical thriller that follows Benjamin Baker, a man who returns to London 15 years after he was wrongly imprisoned and sent to Australia by the ill-willing Judge Turpin. After speaking with his former landlady Mrs. Lovett, Baker learns of the unfortunate circumstances that lead to his beloved wife taking her own life, and Baker seeks revenge on Judge Turpin as his alias, Sweeney Todd.

Photo by Peggy Stewart.  WestConn actors rehearse for "Sweeney Todd".

The WestConn Theatre Arts Department production’s director, Pam McDaniel, chose to stage the “blood and gore” story based on the intricacy of the unfolding plot.

“It’s challenging…[the musical] allows you to sort of just ‘pull out all the stops’ in terms of staging and acting,” said McDaniel in an interview. “There’s a style called ‘Brechtian,’ meaning that [the action] sort of comes right out to the audience at times, and breaks the ‘fourth wall,’ which is a fun thing to do.”


“Lots of dead bodies on stage.”


In theater, “the fourth wall” is the imaginary wall in-between the stage and the audience.  McDaniel used the Brechtian style in hopes of engaging and entertaining the audience with the production’s “gory” scenes and musicality.

“The music is interesting because it’s always changing.  The complexity of the music has these great big sounds,” said McDaniel.

The role of Sweeney Todd is portrayed by senior musical theatre major Andrew Hendrick. He agreed with McDaniel’s remarks.

“This is the most complicated show that WestConn has ever done…there are very intricate harmonies and clashes in the music where its really hard to sing,” said Hendrick in an interview.

Hendrick is no stranger to the spotlight; he performed the lead role of sheriff in last year’s WestConn Theatre Arts Department production, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”.  Hendrick finds portraying the demon barber to be “fun”.

“It’s cool to be the crazy killer,” he said. “[Sweeney] is psychotic, he’s out there!  He’s hell bent on revenge and it consumes him.  It escalates to where…[Sweeney and Lovett] turn the bodies into meat pies and sell them to the public.  A lot of people get killed…there are some really cool special effects people can expect to see.”

Fellow senior Conor Bartram plays Tobias Ragg, a young man who works for Pirelli, another barber in town with an Italian accent.  Bartram believes the play will leave the audience spooked.

“There’s going to be lots of limbs, and pieces of bodies.  Lots of dead bodies on stage,” said Bartram.

The Sweeney Todd cast will also include Jessica Stark and Amy Bentley as Mrs. Lovett; John Stegmaier as Anthony Hope; Vincent McCoy as Beadle; Anthony Mendoza as Judge Turpin; Ryan Naso as Pirelli; Anna Giordano and Colleen Gunning as Johanna; Rachel Fournier and Casey Miko as Beggar Woman, alongside a large ensemble.

Tickets will be $23 for adults and $18 for senior citizens and non-WCSU students. Admission will be free to WestConn students with valid ID. The play will start at 7pm on opening night, Wednesday, October 26 in the Berkshire Theatre.  Additional performances will take place on October 27 and 29 and November 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12.

For tickets or more information, call the box office at (203) 837-8499 or go to wcsu.edu/tickets.

 

The Echo is the student-run publication of Western Connecticut State University whose aim is to inform and enlighten the university community. The Echo’s goal is to establish and maintain an atmosphere of free and responsible journalism in an engaging and entertaining format. Anything published in The Echo in no way represents the opinion of the university or it’s faculty and administration.

 

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