The Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre, nationally known for its interpretation of Stephen Sondheim musicals, celebrates its 20th anniversary season by presenting Sondheim's most popular musical SWEENEY TODD, directed by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. The new production runs in the 276-seat MAX Theater, February 9 through April 4, 2010.
Recently made into a film with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd is Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece - a story of obsession and revenge, full of gothic gore, lush songs, and romantic melodrama. It's a grand musical that has all the stuff of a classic horror story-betrayal, madness, and murder-bloody yet mesmerizing. When Benjamin Barker, alias Sweeney Todd, returns to London after years of wrongful imprisonment, he vows to take revenge on the man who destroyed his life. Meeting Mrs. Lovett, the proprietor of a meat pie shop, he learns of the suicide of his wife and the abduction of his daughter, and his descent into madness begins.
The musical thriller stars two of Washington's leading actors: Edward Gero, hailed for his interpretation of great Shakespearean roles, performing the tour de force role of Sweeney Todd, and as the wily, amoral Mrs. Lovett, Sherri L. Edelen, a Helen-Hayes winner praised for her deft touch with comedy.
Director Schaeffer stated, "When trying to pick which Sondheim musical would be featured in our 20th anniversary season, I had many titles floating in my head. Looking back over Signature's history, I thought it would be wonderful to rediscover the music that started in all here- Sweeney Todd. It was our first musical and began our long history with Sondheim productions, and Signature's connection to Stephen Sondheim. I wanted to find two great Washington actors to take on Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett and do an entirely new production in our beautiful new theater facility. It is the perfect fit for our 20th anniversary celebration"
The cast of 18 includes Gregory Maheu as Sweeney's friend, the young, naïve sailor Anthony, who falls in love with Sweeney's daughter Johanna, played by Signature favorite Erin Driscoll. The corrupt Judge Turpin is played by Chris Van Cleave and his right-hand man, Beadle Bamford, is Chris Sizemore. The simple boy Tobias is performed by Sam Ludwig and the blackmailing ItalIan Barber Pirelli is played by Michael Bunce. Channez McQuay is the mad Beggar Woman. The Ensemble is Jean Cantrell (who performed in the 10th anniversary production), Matt Conner, Sean Maurice Lynch, Kevin McAllister, Katie McManus, Chris Mueller, Russell Sunday, Hannah Willman, and Weslie Woodley.
Working with Eric Schaeffer on the creative team are Scenic Designer James Kronzer, Costumer Designer Kathleen Geldard, Lighting Designer Chris Lee, and Sound Designer Matt Rowe. Musical staging is by Matthew Gardiner, orchestration is by Zak Sandler, and music direction is by Jon Kalbfleisch.