Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Jan. 2, 2009

"Sweeney Todd" to be spring musical

by Jeremy Gradwohl, Online Op/Ed Editor
The Blair theatre program will be performing "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" for its 2009 spring play. Director and English teacher Kelly O'Connor will work with music teacher Paul Newport to recreate the 1973 Broadway musical written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.

"Sweeney Todd" is a musical based on a book of the same name by Christopher Bond. It follows the life of a villainous London barber who kills and robs his clients. Tim Burton adapted the story into a 2007 movie, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

O'Connor plans to stage the play completely differently from the recent movie. "The play won't be as violent and our Sweeney Todd won't be as ferocious as Depp," O'Connor emphasized. O'Connor also noted that about half of the show's music was cut out in the Burton movie.

With intentions of making the play less gory, O'Connor plans to not use fake blood. "The movie was pretty bloody and we're not going for that," O'Connor said. O'Connor also plans to incorporate a chorus to follow the action on stage, making the show a "cautionary tale," something the recent movie did not do.

O'Connor said that when she got mixed responses when she announced the play. "It was like a 50-50 split between the people who liked it and those who didn't," O'Connor said. "If people only know the movie, then they don't know the show."

Auditions will be held on Jan. 12 and the cast will be rehearsing heavily from then until the play's premiere in the third week of March. Students who are interested in auditioning are encouraged to visit the chorus room after school before auditions to learn the show's preliminary music.

Senior actress Anna Snapp, who played Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Blair's fall production, "Pride and Prejudice," plans to audition for "Sweeney Todd." "It sounds like a really cool play," Snapp said. "It'll be my last play at Blair, so I'm hoping it'll be great."

O'Connor chose the play because it will be a challenge for the student actors. "It'll be a real workout for the singers, the orchestra and the stage crew," O'Connor said. "It will stretch the kids dramatically."

O'Connor has a special affinity for the show. "It's still scary, but it has funny moments and a strong moral message," O'Connor said.

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  • APNSL on January 4, 2009 at 9:03 AM
    Sweeny Todd or Swaney Todd
  • ya know (View Email) on January 5, 2009 at 5:04 PM
    you have definitely become my favorite silver chips writer, i look forward to your stories always.
  • woahh on January 5, 2009 at 6:45 PM
    i'm sure sweeny todd will be good, but i bet it cant top this ARTICLE!
  • elizabeth behre on January 6, 2009 at 2:12 PM
    i really like you online website... its a lot better than ours. all it is a facebook page..
  • Johnny Depp on January 8, 2009 at 2:22 AM
    no violence or gore? if they're just gonna censor a bunch of stuff, they need to rename the play "Sweeney Todd: The Jolly Ol' Barber of Rainbow Street" or something to that effect.
  • John Huang Cuc Tran on January 9, 2009 at 10:35 AM
    Sweeny Todd is such an emo, nasty, bloody movie that makes no sense. I wonder how Ms. O'Connor will pull this one off.

    ps: Ms. O is beautiful
  • Andy on January 11, 2009 at 6:24 PM
    To John Huang Cuc Tran- Mrs. O'Connor said "if you just know the movie then you don't know the show" for a reason- the show has completely different themes and characterizations that are much more effective.

    Also, to "Johnny Depp"- It was never implied in the article that there wasn't going to be violence-- of course there's going to be violent, but it's not going to be as extreme as the unnecessary trash that's int the movie!
  • Dave Ottalini (View Email) on January 30, 2009 at 8:09 AM
    "Sweeney Todd: High School Edition" is coming to Blair this March and the Theater Boosters would like to invite all Blair students to enter our poster design contest! Contest rules are simple - produce a poster design that best represents “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” without showing its more gruesome side. Use your imagination - but a London backdrop is a must! Designs could also be used for t-shirts and program covers as well as posters. There are no set number of winners - all those chosen will get a $20 gift card to Plaza Art and two free tickets to see Sweeney Todd. Design winners will also get recognition in the program. All poster designs must be submitted to Mrs. Newman O'Connor by Monday, February 16. Please contact Mrs. Newman O'Connor with any questions.

    Thank you!

    Dave Ottalini
    Blair Theater Boosters
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