Sweeney Todd: The Notorious Demon Barber Is Coming to Carmel
You will not want to miss the first-ever collaborative concert production by Carmel Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Actors Theatre of Indiana (ATI): “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” coming to life on the stage of the Palladium February 21 and 22, 2020.
The Original Production
An award-winning musical, “Sweeney Todd” hasmusic and lyrics written by one of the most renowned and respected figures in 20th-century musical theater—Stephen Sondheim. The musical thriller first opened on Broadway in 1979 and won eight Tony Awards, Best Musical being one of them, when it first premiered. “Sweeney Todd”has won numerous awards over the decades and continues to entrance, amuse and awe its audiences the world over.
Set in Victorian London, Sweeney Todd is an unjustly exiled barber who returns to London years later to seek revenge on the judge who framed him and on those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family. He opens a barber shop connected to Mrs. Lovett’s meat pie shop and initiates his crime rampage. Audiences are sure to be immersed in a rich, demented and beautiful acoustic and visual experience created by the talented musicians and actors from CSO and ATI.
Premiering at the Palladium
We spoke with CSO’s music director Janna Hymes and Don Farrell, ATI’s artistic director and co-founder, about what makes their production of “Sweeney Todd”at the Palladium unique, aside from the collaboration of two resident companies of The Center for the Performing Arts.
“I saw ‘Sweeney Todd’with Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou when I was a young girl in NYC,” Hymes shared. “I was so moved by the beauty of some of the music, and [Lansbury] was so expert in that role. It was incredible, and [the musical] has remained my favorite show ever since. It has everything in it: drama, music, visuals, humor and passion. It’s all there in a way that totally hits my heart.”
Farrell added, “That lush score! I remember the first time I ever heard the original cast recording with Cariou and Lansbury. I also saw the video that was done for PBS with Lansbury and George Hearn. The first time I got to experience it live was in 1989 in NYC, and I saw the production with Bob Gunton and Beth Fowler. I was blown away. The score is so inventive, and it’s so cool to see a musical thriller go so mainstream the way that it has. It’s probably one of the greatest musicals [Sondheim’s] ever written. For us and our audiences to hear the full score in orchestration—the way it was intended in the original production—is so rare because it is so expensive to present. And for it to be done at the Palladium, which is acoustically perfect, will be great, so we’re really excited about it.”
According to Hymes, the staging will be unique as well and will give the audiences a “complete theatrical experience.” The two companies will be utilizing the stage in the Palladium in ways that have not been executed before but will showcase the hall’s highly touted acoustic perfection while demonstrating the masterful skills of both resident companies simultaneously.
“This [‘Sweeney Todd’] will be a very full show, and people will not leave ‘wanting,’” Hymes said. “It will be a complete theatrical experience, and I think that it’s going to be really spectacular. This [production] is quite unusual to what [CSO and ATI] normally do, so fans of both should come because it is going to be exciting. People who love theater and/or the Palladium itself should come because this will be more than just entertainment, and when you experience something that really moves you—that is when great art is made, and I think this show will do just that.”