Western Connecticut State University will present live performances of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at its Visual and Performing Arts Center at 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury, from February 25 to March 6. Tickets are $10 and up and can be purchased at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.
The WCSU production is led by award-winning actor, singer and director Tim Howard, associate professor and director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater program in WCSU’s Department of Theater Arts. The musical director is Dr. Justin P. Cowan, associate professor in the university’s Department of Theater Arts and musical director/conductor of various New York regional productions. “Sweeney Todd” is presented by special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI).
“Sweeney Todd” was a successful Broadway musical and has been made into a movie five times since the character was introduced in the 1840s in a short story. The WCSU production brings to life the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim and the book by Hugh Wheeler. The musical tells the story of the less than appetizing actions of a vengeful Sweeney Todd, a barber in 19th century London, and Mrs Lovett, a failing pie shop owner in search of that special ingredient to boost the sales.
“The intricacy of the beautiful operatic score and razor-sharp lyrics provides both a musical and dramatic challenge that we all throw ourselves into. With 25 cast members on stage as well as a 25-piece orchestra led by Associate Professor Justin Cowan, I hope to scare, delight and captivate our audience,” Howard said.
WCSU students starring and singing in the lead roles in this classic meaty tale (some roles are shared) include: Ulric Alfred Taylor of Brooklyn, New York as Sweeney Todd; Chloe Kramer of Poughkeepsie, New York as Mrs. Lovett; Berny Balbuena of Newburgh, New York, as Beadle Bamford; Bella Bosco from Delaware, Ohio, and Ariana Locascio from Southington, as a beggar; Madison’s Benjamin Elliot, as Jonas Fogg; Meaghan Maher from Long Island, New York, as Johanna Baker; Manchester’s Dean Martin, as Adolfo Pirelli; Beckett Pais of Bethel and Logan Farley of Belvidere, New Jersey as Tobias Ragg; Ethan Chan from Queens, New York as Anthony Hope; Tom O’Leary of Wappingers Falls, New York, as Judge Turpin.
The ensemble cast includes: Sophie Belkin of Branchburg, New Jersey; Cromwell’s Kendyl Grace Davis; Katie Genuich of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts; Liv Hendrickson of Callicoon, New York; Amy Mandelbaum of White Plains, New York; Ben Muckenthaler of Tucson, Arizona; Clinton’s Tyler Manemeit; Khalil Mumtaz from Meriden; Antonio Porciello of Whippany, New Jersey; Trumbull’s Alexis Reda; Julia Rocchio of Naugatuck; Jackson Tubis of North Haven; Sydney Maher of Milford; Michael Ramsey of Armonk, New York; AJ Elias of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Kiernan Urso of Ridge, New York; Audrey Loverro of New York, New York; Jack Canevari of Pawling, New York; Michelle D’Amico of Dallas, Texas; and Alyssa McDonald of Nyack, New York.
The show times for Sweeney Todd at WCSU are Friday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 26, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday February 27 at 2 p.m.; Friday, March 4, at 8 p.m.; Saturday 5 March, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday March 6 at 2 p.m.
Members of the public must wear masks at all times inside the Center for Visual and Performing Arts. Additionally, three-foot social distancing will be enforced, with seating limited to all other seats. Therefore, all customers must pre-purchase their ticket at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.