Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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March 18, 2009

"Sweeney Todd" to premiere Friday

by Jeremy Gradwohl, Online Op/Ed Editor
The Blair theatre program will premiere its production "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. The 1973 musical was based on a book of the same name by Christopher Bond, following the life of a villainous London barber who kills and robs his clients.
Senior set designer Joseph Rosen demonstrates the use of Todd's trunk, posing as dead. Gili Perl
Senior set designer Joseph Rosen demonstrates the use of Todd's trunk, posing as dead.

"Sweeney Todd" will be performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week as well as next Friday and Saturday. Tickets are currently on sale at the attendance office; they are also available over the phone at (800) 838-3006 and online here. Tickets cost $5 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults, but admission for students is $3 on opening night.

Tim Burton adapted "Sweeney Todd" into a 2007 movie starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Director and English teacher Kelly O'Connor plans to stage the play differently from the recent movie. "Our production won't be as violent as the Burton movie was," she emphasized. O'Connor also noted that about half of the show's music was cut out in the Burton movie.

Students have been rehearsing for the production since January, and OíConnor is "very confident" in her cast.

The play will be set in the 1840s in a dingy London neighborhood, according to O'Connor. She encourages everybody to go see the play. "If all you know is the movie, donít be turned away by the violence," OíConnor said. "Itís a great morality tale."

Senior Robin Dreher will star as the demon barber alongside senior Anna Snapp as Mrs. Lovett, his business partner and accomplice. Dreher aims to portray Sweeney Todd as playwright Stephen Sondheim wrote the part. "I think what I bring to the role is a true portrayal of Sweeney Toddís insanity," Dreher said.

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."

Some thematic material in the play could be inappropriate for young children, according to the Blair Drama Boosters web site.

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  • anonymous on March 19, 2009 at 1:48 PM
    Go blair theatre!
  • anonymous on March 19, 2009 at 5:18 PM
    This is a great play, possibly Sondheim's best. If you weren't planning to see Blair's Sweeney because you didn't like the movie, reconsider. The movie is a watered-down, simplified, flattened, and gratuitously bloodied-up version. In the play, you find yourself laughing with and sympathizing with the very human murderers at moments, and then you come up short with a chill on your neck as you say "Wait a minute...."
  • chips print on March 23, 2009 at 8:13 PM
    good article. and GREAT PHOTO!
  • Jessica Arce (View Email) on March 31, 2009 at 8:58 PM
    the play was amazing and even better than beauty and beast!
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