Arts

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
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Actorsingsrs, November 4th-6th, 2022

      NASHUA – Actorsingers is pleased to announce that it will produce Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Nashua, NH at the Keefe Center for the Arts. Tickets are now on sale online at Actorsingers.org or by phone at (603) 204-1289.

      Driven by the music of the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd received eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This deliciously dark musical serves horror with a slice of humor.

      Sweeney Todd is the bloody and macabre Victorian tale of a barber who returns to London after a wrongful imprisonment, bent on revenge for the rape and death of his wife. He resumes his trade while forming a sinister partnership with the crazed Mrs. Lovett, a proprietress of a failing pie shop. Mrs. Lovett's luck changes when Todd's thirst for blood inspires adding a new ingredient to her pies.

      Sweeney Todd is Directed by Angèlica Rosenthal, with Musical Direction by Amanda Morgan, and serves as Brianna Arico’s debut as a Choreographer.

      As a well-seasoned director with Actorsingers, Sweeney Todd is Rosenthal’s third Main Stage production for the organization. Angèlica has accrued credits and New Hampshire Theatre Award nominations not only as a Director, but also as a Technical Director, Musical Director, Choreographer, Actor, and many more with companies all across the region. Her connection to choreographer, Brianna Arico, dates back to her first Actorsingers Main Stage production of Mamma Mia, in which Arico could be seen as a featured dancer. Brianna became a well known and loved member of the New Hampshire theatre community from there. Though she continued to work with various other companies across the region, Arico joined Actorsingers’ cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a featured dancer. The show was not only Directed by Rosenthal, but Musically Directed by Amanda Morgan, rounding out the powerhouse trio directorial team for Sweeney Todd. Amanda is an award winning Musical Director that is well accredited across the state. Her history as a Musical Director with Actorsingers goes years back, even winning her the Best Musical Director award for her work on the company’s 2019 production of Pippin.

       “The first musical I was ever a part of was with Actorsingers in their production of Les Miserables in 2013. After that, I really caught the acting bug. I’ve done Young Frankenstein, Rock of Ages, and the New Hampshire premier of American Idiot with Actorsingers over the years.” says Sweeney himself, Joe Paoni. “Sweeney Todd is obviously a role that has been brought to life by many many talented actors since its creation. I wouldn’t say that I’m focused on making it different than those incarnations, but rather trying to make sure the humanity of Sweeney shines through where it can. I think there are some similarities that I can

see between myself and Sweeney, even just in his loyalty to family. Overall, this show is a cautionary tale in the sense that there could be a little bit of Sweeney in all of us if we were put into a

similar situation.”

      Autumn DeSisto, who brings Mrs. Lovett to life, echoes the same notion that the iconic character has been established by years of talent before. She reflects on the challenges of staking her claim as Lovett, 

stating that “You want to make a character your own, but there are parts of her that you feel sort of obligated to model after the great performers before you, and truth be told, there is a lot of wonderful inspiration that can come from previous performances. Yet, you need to craft your own version as well. It’s a fine line to walk.” Lovett is a complex character. She’s one that leaves audiences pondering her intentions and purpose. “I love that Mrs Lovett is not an obvious baddie. Is she evil or just opportunistically amoral? Or, maybe she isn’t amoral at all, she just has her own moral code. There is something that can be admired in her sheer skill at staying afloat and alive in a society that is so completely stacked against her. I admire her grit, brains and ability to adapt and do whatever she needs to do to get by.”

       “I chose to work on Sweeney Todd, partially because our Director asked and having worked with her before I knew that I could trust her vision and I liked her method of putting a show together. I did also enjoy the movie, and in learning the music I fell in love with the show very quickly. For people who have only seen the movie, I think some of the Pirelli and Judge moments will be a shock because the movie downplays how terrible those characters really are. We fully explored the dark side of those roles.” says Arico on Actorsingers’ adaptation of Sondheim’s stage classic. “It’s admittedly odd trying to act and portray myself to be as off-putting as I can, and at times, it can get uncomfortable.” says Colin J. Malette, the actor taking on the role of Judge Turpin. “To step this far out of my comfort zone, and into the shoes of a character that no one wants to be in real life, it gives a sense of responsibility to take a stand and embody that for the audience.” In the show, Turpin takes custody of Todd’s daughter, Johanna, after Todd is taken away for his crimes the first time. As Johanna ages, Judge Turpin is forced to cope with awakening feelings toward the young girl: a topic not taken lightly by the directorial team. Malette reflects on this aspect of the character, explaining that “villains never think they’re the villain. Their actions and motives are

completely justified in their minds, so to help the audience see the side ofthe enemy that nobody wants to see is very powerful. I’m in no way like the Judge, I avoid conflict, so there’s the extra layer of having to really get into character and believe you aren’t the monster as you do things that go so strongly against your moral compass.”

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