Posts Tagged ‘Sondheim’

Washington DC — By Jon Rochetti on February 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm
Filed under: musicals, plays, Sondheim, The Arts, top-feature

Murderous Barber Sweeney Todd Slices into DC

The musical play Sweeney Todd, now playing at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, is a lavish, robust and powerful production of this classic horror story with gothic gore, mass-murder, revenge, obsession and romantic melodrama.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the production features sinisterly frightening Edward Gero in the title role.

Sherri L. Edelen is Mrs. Lovett and Edward Gero is Sweeney Todd in Signature Theatre’s 20th anniversary production of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, the musical SWEENEY TODD, directed by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, Feb 9 – April 4, 2010.  Photo credit: Chris Mueller.

The main character, Benjamin Barker runs a quiet little barber shop above a pie shop on Fleet Street in London in 1785.  But a powerful local judge desires his beautiful wife, and using trumped up charges exiles Barker to the penal colony in Australia for life.

After 15 years, Barker escapes, changes his identity to Sweeney Todd and returns to London to find his wife and daughter Johann.  And more importantly, to seek revenge on the man that ruined his life.

Erin Driscoll is Johanna in Signature Theatre’s 20th anniversary production of Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD.  Photo credit:  Scott Suchman . His search for his loved ones uncovers that his then infant daughter was abducted by the evil judge and now, having grown into a beautiful young woman, the overprotective judge plans to marry the young girl.  Yet she is secretly in love with a young sailor who wants to rescue her from the judge’s captivity.

Todd’s wife,  he’s told, took her own life by drinking arsenic after being raped by the judge.  Seeking justice, he reopens his barber shop under the name of Sweeney Todd while plotting his revenge against the judge.

Todd’s landlord, Mrs. Lovett (played with a wonderful comedic touch by Sherri L. Edelen), runs a failing a meat pie business that sells some of the worst pies in all of London, just below his barber shop.

When Todd’s true identity is first discovered, he uses his barber’s razor to slit the man’s throat to avoid exposure.  With nowhere to dispose of the body, Mrs. Lovett and he form a sinister partnership and devise a plan to grind up the body and use it as a special ingredient baked into her pies.

The first murder starts Todd down the path to madness and gore, while the pies become a local sensation requiring the pair to find more and more bodies.  While shaving his customers, Todd slices throat after throat planning for the day the judge will visit the shop of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Edward Gero in the title role of Signature Theatre’s 20th anniversary production of Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD.  Photo credit:  Scott Suchman .Eric Schaeffer directs his third production of Sweeny Todd at Signature Theatre over the past 20 years, and makes this thrillingly dark musical comedy the theatre’s anniversary production. Schaeffer pulled together all the right ingredients – a magnificent cast with exceptionally solid voices, a live quartet under the direction of Zak Sandler playing a lush musical score that’s pure Sondheim, and a modern set that adds to the macabre experience.   The lavish costumes and effective makeup were also stunning.

The acting and singing were solid across the board, coming close to perfection from the entire ensemble cast.  Additional kudos to DC local player Erin Driscoll (shown above), who’s singing was powerful and memorizing in her portrayal Sweeny’s daughter Johanna.

Sweeney Todd
Signature Theatre – Max Stage
4200 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, Virginia  22206  (map it)

Dates & Times – Through April 4, 2010.

Tickets - $30.00 – $76.00 and are available online online or by phone at 703-820-9771.  This production is not suitable for young children due to a bit of graphic violence.

Nearest Metro Subway Station – Pentagon City – Blue and Yellow lines, then 4-mile cab ride (about $7.00). Cabs are available on the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Pentagon City.

Parking – Free garage parking is available next to the theater.

Images – Courtesy of Signature Theatre, photo credits: top – Chris Mueller, bottom photos: Scott Suchman

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