Garfield Center to Present Sondheim’s Dark Musical Sweeney Todd

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On April 27th director Shelagh Grasso and musical director Julie Lawrence will be opening a new musical at the Garfield Center for the Arts; Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This will be the first musical that the Garfield Center has produced since Garfield Executive Director Tess Hogans directed My Fair Lady in 2016. This is a big year for musicals at the Garfield Center, with Jennifer Kafka Smith directing The Marx Bros. musical comedy, Animal Crackers in September.

The story of Sweeney Todd first appeared in the 1830s in England and was soon adapted for the London stage. When Stephen Sondheim, the celebrated producer of hit Broadway musicals, saw a version of the play in London in the mid 1970s, he asked Hugh Wheeler to collaborate with him on a musical adaptation. When the new Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979, it became an instant hit and later walked away with that year’s Tony award—Broadway’s highest honor.

The public was shocked but thoroughly entertained by the gruesome storyline of this musical thriller, which focuses on the murderous machinations of a vengeful English barber and his accommodating landlady. The play follows the barber, Sweeney Todd, as he plots his revenge against Judge Turpin, who sent him to prison on false charges—an act which causes the destruction of Sweeney’s family. As Sweeney’s revenge plot accidentally broadens to include other citizens of the corrupt society of Victorian London, his landlady, Mrs. Lovett, finds a way to cover up the barber’s crimes as well as her own. Through this darkly comic story, Wheeler explores the motivations for, and consequences of, revenge.

This new cast consists actors who frequent the Garfield stage, as well as a surprising number of new faces. The cast includes Christopher Wallace, Jane Copple, Melissa McGlynn, Matt Folker, Nic Carter, Shannon Whittaker, Max Hagan, Natalie Lane, Zack Schlag, Howard Messick, Zac Ryan, Kendall Davis, Nevin Dawson, Brian Whitaker, Doug Porter, Marcia Gilliam, Mallory Westlund, Kathy Jones, David Ryan, Brian Whitaker, Gil Rambach, Connor Christopher, Haley Melton, Robbie Spray and Troy Strootmam.

The show runs for three weekends, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm, April 27-May 13. Come on opening night to sample some of Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies, for sale at the concession stand!

Sweeney Todd is sponsored in part by The Hedgelawn Foundation.

Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for military/seniors 65+ and $10 for students. They are available online at www.garfieldcenter.org or by calling the Garfield Center box office at 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

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