Venice Theatre invites audiences to attend the tale of Sweeney Todd
Sondheim musical thriller opens on Pinkerton Stage Jan. 21, 2016
Venice, FL, Dec. 31, 2015 – Venice Theatre’s next Stage II production is Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical thriller Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The show opens on Jan. 21, 2016 and will run in the Pinkerton Theatre through Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $29 for adults, $13-$15 for students and are on sale now at the theatre’s box office located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice, online at www.venicestage.com or by phone at 941-488-1115. Reduced rates are available for groups of 20 or more. The production is generously sponsored by Eric Styren.
Sweeney Todd is an eight-time Tony winner that tells the story of a barber who was unjustly imprisoned for decades. He returns to England bent on revenge – a revenge that turns murderous – leading his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, to bake his victims into “the worst pies in London.”
Theatergoers have been drawn to the darkly comic tale of Sweeney Todd for more than 40 years. Christopher Bond’s straight play was written in 1973; Stephen Sondheim’s musical (with book by Hugh Wheeler) debuted in 1979; and the “penny dreadful” serial that inspired these versions goes back to before the Victorian era.
With a Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, numerous revivals, tours and concert versions, Sweeney Todd has become one of the most popular musicals in history. Sondheim wrote about its success in his book Finishing the Hat: “If you give an audience a good story, especially an extravagant one, they’ll accept it with pleasure, no matter how bizarre and idiosyncratic it may be.”
Although the odd musical received mixed reviews when it first opened, it caught the attention of New York Times critic Richard Eder who raved, “There is more artistic energy, creative personality and plain excitement in Sweeney Todd … than in a dozen average musicals.”
Venice Theatre’s production is directed by Murray Chase and stars oft-paired actors/singers Kim Kollar as Mrs. Lovett and Chris Caswell in the title role. Chase is setting the show in an intimate space with a relatively small cast and hints at some possible moments of audience participation.
He says he has directed Caswell to be more affable and relatable as Sweeney. “You might see him as a guy you could sit down and have a beer with, which makes everything that much creepier. Evil is more horrifying when it lives next door and looks like us,” Chase explains.
Again, Sweeney Todd runs in the Pinkerton Theatre Jan. 21 through Feb. 14, 2016. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. Box office hours are Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and one hour before all performances.
Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on an adaptation by Christopher Bond
Director – Murray Chase
Music Director – Sheila Plummer
Production Stage Manager – Lisa Million
Choreographer – Tahlia Byers
Scenic Designer – Tim Wisgerhof
Lighting Designer – John Andzulis
Costume Designer – Nick Hartman
Sound Designer – Gabriela Gorka
Rehearsal Stage Manager – Stephen Emery
Sweeney Todd – Chris Caswell
Mrs. Lovett – Kim Kollar
Tobias – Ryan Hunek and Zachary Thompson
Anthony – Douglas Landin
Johanna – Alyssa Hunek
Judge Turpin – Robert Austin
Beadle – Rik Robertson
Lucy – Lisa Figueroa
Pirelli – Joe Sergio
Ensemble – Timothy Chastain, Walter Beck, Charlotte Crowley, Haley Vidolin, Tricia Campbell, Angela Benardo
About Venice Theatre
Venice Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a dramatic impact on all stages of life. The second-largest of 10,000 community theatres in the United States, it is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice, FL. Its MainStage offers seating for 432 patrons and features musicals, plays, concerts and special events. Its Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre seats 90 patrons and is home to the theatre’s “Generations,” Stage II and Cabaret Series. In addition to providing entertainment to the community, Venice Theatre offers a wide range of education and outreach programs for children and adults.