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Sweeney Todd opens Thursday

Story by Avery Gregurich

Thursday, the Drake University Department of Theatre Arts will open its final production of the fall semester with the macabre musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is a Tony Award-winning musical written by famed composerslyricists Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.

The musical tells the Victorian England tale of a barber who takes vengeance on his enemies by murdering them with straight blade razors and baking their remains into pies.

After returning from an unjust prison sentence, Benjamin Barker learns of his wife Lucy’s death and daughter Johanna’s kidnapping at the hands of the man who sent him to prison, Judge Turpin.

Vowing revenge, Barker takes on the identity of Sweeney Todd and takes up residency as a barber above Mrs. Nellie Lovett’s struggling pie shop. The two quickly team up, with Todd’s murdered bodies becoming the substance of Lovett’s pies. The plot culminates when Judge Turpin stops by Todd’s shop for a close shave.

A Tim Burton-directed film adaptation of the musical was released in 2007 and starred Johnny Depp in the title role, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Nellie Barker and Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin.

The musical thriller is being directed by Drake University Associate Professor of Theatre Karla Kash, who will also direct the department’s 2014 J-term production of “Bernstein and the Bard.”

Associate Professor of Voice Leanne Freeman-Miller is the production’s music director.

Senior Hayden Kraus will take on the eponymous role of the razor-wielding Sweeney Todd. Senior Marissa Broich will play the role of Mrs. Nellie Lovett, Todd’s accomplice who is responsible for the pie baking. Senior Katie Hahn will play Todd’s daughter Johanna and senior Allie Reidy will playing his wife, Lucy.

Junior Grant Haase will play the part of Judge Turpin, whose actions are at the root of Todd’s blood-spilling actions. Senior Cameron Reeves will play Beadle Bamford, Judge Turpin’s aide in his dastardly plot.

The musical’s run in the Performing Arts Hall of the Harmon Fine Arts Center will go from Thursday until Sunday. Thursday through Saturday’s shows will begin at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday’s performance at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and students with a Drake I.D. They can be reserved at the Harmon Fine Arts Center Box Office on Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.


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