Attend the Tale of ‘Sweeney Todd’

Friday, October 6, 2017

It’s time for a close shave as the SJU Theatre Company presents “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” opening Wednesday, Oct. 25 in Bluett Theatre. The music and lyrics of the macabre melodrama were written by Stephen Sondheim, and Hugh Wheeler wrote the book, in the tradition of the Grand Guignol.

This musical tells the tale of a barber who seeks revenge on the judge who falsely imprisoned him and murdered his wife. The play is drawn from a Victorian penny dreadful entitled, “The String of Pearls,” which was published in a weekly magazine in 1846. That was later adapted by Christopher Bond in 1973. Sondheim’s musical won seven Tony awards for its original and revival casts. The musical was first performed at the Uris Theatre on Broadway on March 1, 1979.

The cast is comprised of 25 students. Brendon McGill ’21, an English major from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, plays Sweeney Todd. Jennifer Tague ’20, a music and communications studies double major from Ambler, Pennsylvania, plays Mrs. Lovett, his accomplice and would-be paramour. 

“We chose this musical because of the complex musical score,” says Renee Dobson, M.F.A. associate professor of music, theatre and film, and the show’s director. “We believe it to be a wonderful opportunity for our students to take on this kind of challenge.”

Performances will run October 25-28 at 8 p.m., with a closing show on Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be reserved on or by calling 610-660-1181, and can be purchased at the box office one hour before the show with cash or check. Credit cards are not accepted. Tickets are $10 for students with a valid ID, SJU faculty and staff, senior citizens and children under 12. General admission is $20. Bluett Theatre is located on the Saint Joseph’s University campus in Post Hall at 56th Street and Overbrook Avenue.

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