DeKALB – Stage Coach Players invites residents to the parlor of Mrs. Lovett where they can enjoy a savory meat pie and then have Mr. Sweeney Todd shave that thick scruff of hair clean off.
The community theater group visits London for its production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. The thrilling musical opens Thursday, Oct. 14, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 24.
The show is directed by Jeff Hall with vocal direction by Sandra Jozef and pit orchestra direction by Judy O’Connor.
The bloody tale involves Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, who returns to London to seek revenge on Judge Turpin, who framed Todd when he was known as Benjamin Barker. Then, with the help of his servant, Beadle Bamford, Turpin lured his young wife to the Judge’s home and ravages her. Todd finds lodging at a failing pie shop, owned by Mrs. Lovett, where he immerses himself in finding revenge.
Todd shows his skills as a barber after besting Pirelli, a flamboyant Italian barber in a shaving contest. Thirsting for blood, he offers Bamford a free shave. After opening his new barber practice upstairs from Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop, Pirelli comes and threatens to reveal Todd’s true identity. Todd adeptly disposes of him. Upon finding out, Mrs. Lovett suggests an unusual use for his body and soon her pie shop becomes a place where the people of London line up to eat. And the carnage has only just begun!
Songs from the musical include “A Little Priest,” “Not While I’m Around” and “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd,” and can be found on YouTube with the original cast album being accessible through Spotify.
The original Broadway production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” premiered on March 1, 1979, with Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett and Len Cariou as Sweeney Todd and Victor Garber as Anthony Hope. The musical was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won eight.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14-16 and Oct. 21-23 and 2 p.m. Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 at Stage Coach Theater, 126 S. Fifth St. in DeKalb. Tickets cost $20 each or $18 for seniors and children age 13 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at 815-758-1940 or www.stagecoachplayers.com. This show has adult themes and violence that may not be suitable for those younger than 13.
For this production, attendees are asked to wear masks covering both their nose and mouth. If the state of Illinois guidelines change, the theater’s guidelines also will change.