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Sweeney Todd features a barber unjustly imprisoned for years by a corrupt judge. He returns to England bent on revenge, revenge that turns indiscriminately murderous, leading his resourceful accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, to bake the victims into meat pies. (Photo by Joan Marcus )
Greg Nobile and Jana Shea at the opening night of Sweeney Todd. (Photo courtesy of Seaview Productions )
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The Greg Nobile- and Jana Shea-led, Branford-based Broadway production company, Seaview Productions, officially opened Sweeney Todd, its newest production, at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street, New York.
With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, and directed by Bill Buckhurst, this production of the classic tale features blood-thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett and it comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London.
Immersing audiences in a completely new theatrical experience, Tooting Arts Club first mounted this Sweeney Todd in the winter of 2014 in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, one of the oldest continuously operating pie shops in London, seating only 35 people at each performance.
In 2015, the production made the leap to the West End where Harrington’s was recreated in a 69-seat Shaftesbury Avenue venue provided by producer Cameron Mackintosh. The Harrington’s shop environment has once again been brought to life for its U.S. debut in the 130-seat Barrow Street Theatre. The New York press called the production “a must see show” (The New York Times) and “infectious and thrilling” (Entertainment Weekly). Time Out New York called it “A bloody wonder. This thrilling, overwhelming Sweeney is a full course meal.”
Reprising their critically acclaimed performances from the original Tooting and West End productions are British stage stars Jeremy Secomb (as Sweeney Todd), Olivier Award nominee Siobhán McCarthy (as Mrs. Lovett), Duncan Smith (as Judge Turpin), and Joseph Taylor (as Tobias). They are joined by Matt Doyle (as Anthony), Alex Finke (as Johanna), Betsy Morgan (as Pirelli & Beggar Woman), and Tony Award nominee Brad Oscar (as The Beadle). Secomb, McCarthy, Morgan, Smith and Taylor will stay with the production for eight weeks only through April 9. Beginning April 11, Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis (as Sweeney Todd), Tony Award nominee Carolee Carmello (as Mrs. Lovett), Stacie Bono (as Pirelli & Beggar Woman), Jamie Jackson (as Judge Turpin) and John-Michael Lyles (as Tobias) join the cast. Sweeney Todd features set and costume designs by Simon Kenny, music supervision and arrangements by Benjamin Cox, music direction by Matt Aument, choreography by Georgina Lamb, lighting design by Amy Mae, sound design by Matt Stine, casting by Telsey + Company/Cesar A. Rocha, CSA, and production stage management by Richard A. Hodge.
Sweeney Todd is produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold, and Nate Koch (executive producer). Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. Former White House executive pastry chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by then-President Barack Obama) serves as the production’s official pie maker. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” is available for purchase by audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional “pie and mash” dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce—otherwise known as “liquor”—which is an optional extra. Both meat and veg pie options are available. Branford based Seaview Productions, led by Greg Nobile and Jana Shea, is a Tony- and Olivier Award-winning production company. Seaview’s producing credits include the Tony Award-winning musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Side Show, and Hughie on Broadway; the Olivier Award-winning revival of Gypsy and Show Boat on London’s West End and Hundred Days, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, and Invisible Thread off Broadway. Seaview’s investment portfolio includes Dear Evan Hansen, The Front Page, On Your Feet!, The SpongeBob Musical, Funny Girl, Fun Home (Tony Award), Something Rotten, It’s Only a Play, and Of Mice and Men. Seaview Productions also produced the Peabody Award winning documentary India’s Daughter and Gypsy: Live from the Savoy Theatre in collaboration with the BBC. For more information, visit www.seaviewprods.com.
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