Theatre at Southeastern and the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Department of Music announces its next production, the musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. “Sweeney” plays at 7:30 p.m February 21-23 in Southeastern’s historic Montgomery Auditorium. Tickets are $10 or $7 in advance with a valid ID.
“The rare instance of a musical thriller, this chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife,” reported Music Theatre International. “His thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers, and the resourceful proprietress of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe.”
The original Broadway production opened in 1979 starring Angela Lansbury in the role of Mrs. Lovett. Most recently, the show was given a film treatment by director Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Stephen Sondheim adapted the musical for the film, cutting the chorus parts due to the highly visual nature of film.
Directed by Chair of Art, Communication and Theatre Dell McLain, this production is McLain’s fourth time to be associated with the show. He has Directed “Sweeney Todd” at two other universities and appeared in the title role of the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival’s 2003 production.
McLain has chosen to heighten the theatrical nature of the show by exposing Montgomery Auditorium’s full backstage and theatrical apparatuses to the audience. “I’m very excited about the look of the set,” said McLain. “It’s draped in fantastic Victorian handbills, which add to the deadly and delightful commerce represented in the show. It has a very mechanical, 19th century feel.”
“It’s the perfect show for these chilly February days,” said McLain of the production. “This show is such a great thrill ride for the audience—from moments of bone-chilling suspense to the blackest humor.”