"Sweeney Todd" to be spring musical

Jan. 2, 2009, midnight | By Jeremy Gradwohl | 11 years, 9 months ago

Show will differ from recent movie adaptation

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.

Jeremy Gradwohl. Jeremy is a good, upstanding citizen. He likes the city of Takoma Park, baseball, good music and the Orioles back in the day when they had Cal Ripken Jr. Nature also plays a big part in his life. More »

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