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Publishers Feature Weekly: Atlanta Cultural Arts Review

posted Mar 13, 2014, 8:33 AM by Catherine Giel   [ updated Mar 13, 2014, 8:36 AM ]
Sweeney Todd
by RJH
Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd hits the stage in the Conant Theatre at Oglethorpe this weekend only. You kind of know the story line; it’s about that barber who got sent down to Australia by some corrupt judge, and years later shows up in London Town seeking revenge in a somewhat bloody way.
Barber Sweeney Todd (Shane Desmond-Williams) hooks up with Mrs. Lovett, who is a lousy baker trying to eke out a living by making and selling her awful pasties. She was using road kill as a filler, until Sweeney figures out a much heartier source. Mrs. Lovett is sung by Heather Witt, and she and Sweeney make quite a pair. But wait. . . . you’ll also enjoy Kristin Moye as the nut-case beggar woman. She’s a hoot.
The tale involves a young sailor (Ivan Segovia) who falls for Johanna (Sarah Elizabeth Peavy) who turns out to be the daughter of Sweeney, who has been raised in very tight circumstances by the judge who sent Sweeney away. The judge (Wade Thomas) has the hots for his foster daughter and would wed her, would she be willing to do so. Ugh…. And he is supported by a colorful Beadle (Charlie Bradshaw) who is a civil servant guard. The other three principals are Adolfo Pirelli (Joey Yates) and his assistant Tobias Ragg (Jeffrey Akana) who also winds up working for the pie lady. Joey Yates doubles as the loony Jonas Fogg who runs an asylum.
However that is not the entire cast. They are joined by a company of 19 more players who are the street people and help to move the story along. This is an incredible work by this local opera group, for just a 3-night run. The sets alone must have taken some great work to move into the theatre. They are backed up by an off-stage orchestra, and the costuming is great as well.
There are two numbers which will ring a bell, and they are Not While I’m Around (also referred to often as Nothing’s gonna hurt you . . .) sung to Mrs. Lovett by Tobias, andPretty Women sung by Sweeney and the judge. If you expect to see a lot of blood and corpses, please know that is not the case. It is part of the story, but it isn’t thrust at you in a manner to revolt you. What this is, is an excellent and highly professional production of a contemporary classic work directed by Michael Nutter, with the orchestra under the baton of Michael Giel.
If you like musical theatre and/or opera in English; then this is a must see; so go visit their website where you can reserve your seats and enjoy the show. CCityOpera.org