Just in time for Halloween: ‘Sweeney Todd’ at WCSU

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DANBURY, CONN. — Nothing harkens Halloween like the sight of a blade dripping with blood. So fans of the macabre can get in the spirit as theatre arts at WestConn, in cooperation with the department of music, stages Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 stage musical, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Based on the 1973 play of the same name by Christopher Bond, “Sweeney Todd” chronicles the story of Benjamin Barker. Unjustly sent to prison, he returns as Sweeney Todd to take revenge on those who hurt him and his family. After opening a barbershop in Victorian London, he begins a murderous musical rampage.

WCSU will stage “Sweeney Todd” for three weekends in October and November. Performances will be Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Oct. 26, 27 and 29, 2011; Friday through Sunday, Nov. 4 – 6, 2011; and Friday through Sunday, Nov. 11 – 13, 2011, in the Berkshire Theatre in Berkshire Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The public is invited. Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Opening Night, Wednesday, Oct. 26, and High School Night, Thursday, Oct. 27. The show will be at 8 p.m. all other evenings. There will be matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 5, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6. There also will be a 6 p.m. performance on Sunday, Nov. 13. Tickets will be $23 for adults, and $18 for seniors and students.

Senior Andrew Hendrick, of Fairfield, was cast as Sweeney Todd. The musical theatre major, who performed the lead role of the sheriff in last season’s “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” said, “This is by far the biggest role I’ve ever had.

“I was extremely excited when I found out we were doing ‘Sweeney Todd’ this fall,” Hendrick said. “I love the show, and I really love that fact that it is such a complicated musical. I consider this to be Sondheim’s masterpiece and I’m glad we can take our department to the next level.”

Hendrick promised the WCSU production “has some great surprises, nice twists and turns, and we’re definitely doing the show justice. We are staying true to the original script and style of the show. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

The WCSU cast will include Hendrick as Sweeney Todd; Jessica Stark and Amy Bentley, of East Lyme, as Mrs. Lovett; John Stegmaier, of Bridgeport, as Anthony Hope; Vincent McCoy, of Torrington, as Beadle; Anthony Mendoza, of Stratford, as Judge Turpin; Conor Bartram, of Hamden, as Tobias Ragg; Ryan Naso, of Stamford, as Pirelli; Anna Giordano, of Clinton, and Colleen Gunning, of Southbury, as Johanna; Rachel Fournier, of Shelton, and Casey Miko, of Stratford, as Beggar Woman. A large ensemble rounds out the cast.

The crew will include Pam McDaniel as director, Sal Trapani and McDaniel as co-producers, Frank Herbert as technical director, Elizabeth Popiel as scenic designer, Lisa Renee Jordan as costume designer, Vincent McCoy as choreographer, Scott Cally as lighting designer and Paul Dente as sound designer.

WCSU alumni couples who want to enjoy dinner before their theatre experience on Saturday, Nov. 5, can buy a combination dinner-theatre ticket for $55. The Alumni Dinner-Theatre will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Warner Hall on the university’s Midtown campus. A limited number of tickets are available for the dinner theatre. To make a reservation, call the Office of Alumni relations at (203) 837-8298.

For tickets or more information, call the Box Office at (203) 837-TIXX or go to www.wcsu.edu/tickets.

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

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