“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” opens this week

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First play of season is a musical thriller
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Posted Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 7:48pm

The musical thriller, “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” opens this weekend in the College of Eastern Utah’s Geary Theatre after the actors spent the past five weeks every night in grueling rehearsals.

Director Corey Ewan, Ph.D said, “I have seen the play several times and have wanted to bring it to CEU for many years. Some have expressed concerns about the play’s dark subject matter. I believe the play offers much to learn from the extremes these characters choose to live. I think that the recent film version, is still very strong on people’s minds. Our production will focus more on the choices and not on the graphic violence.”

Michael S. Johnson, who plays Judge Turpin, says his favorite song in the play is “Not While I’m Around.” The song is written beautifully and Kelton Wells and Diana Cox perform it with such honesty.

His favorite character is the beggar woman played by Mae Goss. “She plays the role with great confidence. She holds nothing back and isn’t afraid to get a little crazy.”

Goss’ favorite scenes are the prologue and epilogue; “they have so much power in them.”

Her favorite character is Toby played by Kelton Wells because he is really the only innocent characte in the play.

Mitchell Ewan is in the chorus and likes “when Sweeney sings the song ‘Epiphany.’ The power and emotion that runs through the song is amazing and you can cut it with a knife.”

He also likes Toby because “you feel so sorry for him because he has the best intentions throughout the entire play and shafted throughout its entirety.”

Shelby Howard is in the chorus and likes the scene “God, that’s good” because he plays a drunk and gets to steal pies before getting chased off.

His favorite character is Anthony because he relates to him. “He’s just your typical romantic willing to do anything to get his true love.”

Jamin Smith is in the company, a lunatic and member of the quintet. She loves the prologue because “this is when we introduce the audience to Sweeney and the energy from the cast is powerful, chilling and cool.”

Her favorite character is Mrs. Lovett because “she is twisted and strange. The plot wouldn’t be what it is without the ideas that she places in Sweeney’s mind.”

Bethany Gilmore is a member of the company and likes the final scene when “Sweeney discovers that he has killed his wife and throws Lovett into the fire. I love this ending because it is shocking and chilling. The despair from Sweeney is moving and I can’t help but feel pain and anguish for him.”

Her favorite character is Pirelli played by Henry Rudolph. “He has developed the character in great detail and is very comedic. His performance is over dramatic and he manages to capture the essence of Pirelli’s personality brilliantly.”

Liesl Cope plays young Lucy Barker and also likes the prologue. “It’s true and sincere, powerful warning . . . ‘Sweeney never forgets and he never forgives.’”

Her favorite character is Toby because of his pure motives. “Most of the other characters act out of greed; they have become desensitized.”

Kelton Wells, who plays Tobias (Toby) likes the city on fire sequence. “There are so many aspects of the play that culminate in this scene and continue through its end.”

Amy Guthrie plays Johanna and likes “Fogg’s insane asylum into the murder of the judge.” Toby is her favorite character because it proves even “the most innocent hearts can turn to evil and injustice.”

Ellie DeMie is in the company and likes the scene where Sweeney has killed Lucy and then Toby enters. His favorite character is the beggar woman because “you’ll have to see it. If I tell you then it would ruin it.”

Eleven-year-old Triston Smith plays an urchin in the company. He likes the song “God, that’s good and it’s a fun part in the play.” His favorite character is Toby because he transforms from a fun, loving boy into a little crazy.

Brynne Hunt plays in the company and likes the prologue and epilogue because most of the energy is focused into these two pieces. Her favorite character is Mrs. Lovett because she is quite the “character.”

Josh DeMie. a part of the company, likes the judge’s death and Sweeney Todd. “He’s the most clever killer ever written.”

The play runs Oct. 7-9, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. The Saturday matinee begins at 2 p.m. No one under 6 years old will be admitted. Ticket prices are $10 adults, $7 senior citizens, $5 CEU faculty and staff, $3 CEU students with activity cards. Grady McEvoy designed the set with Jay Andrus as the music director.

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