Sweeney Todd

Venture ends season with showy ‘Sweeney Todd’

June 01, 2012 12:10 am  •  By Jaci Webb

The musical “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” closes out Venture Theatre’s main stage shows for the season. It opens tonight and runs weekends through June 23.

Directed by Robert Brian Wood, the musical features Steve Zediker in the title role. Pam Havig is Mrs. Lovett and Chris Decker plays Aldolfo Pirelli.

The show is based on the book by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The cast includes a large company of 22 chorus members and nine featured performers.

“Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is a 1979 musical thriller. It opened on Broadway at the Uris Theatre in 1979 and ran for 557 performances.

Set in 19th century England, the musical tells the story of Benjamin Barker, alias Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years of incarceration on trumped-up charges. When he finds out that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge who transported him, he vows revenge on the whole world. He teams up with a piemaker, Mrs. Lovett, and opens a barbershop in which he slits the throats of customers and has them baked into pies.


June 10, 2012 @ 3:35 pm by jodie

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd…

Today I woke up to the chorus of Sweeney Todd  on repeat in my head.

Last night I attended Venture Theatre’s production of said play.

My first comment is the entirety of the cast and crew should be very proud of their creation!  I was expecting grim and ominous.  I was given grim and ominous but with a massive portion of hilarity and spectacular talent!

I laughed SO hard and I laughed a lot!

Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical thriller that chronicles the life and revenge of a falsely exiled barber who loses his wife to a corrupt judge. (Yes I know nothing about that sounds remotely funny but it is absolutely punctuated with hilariousness!)

Robert Brian Wood directed and branded the work with his whimsically and marvelously creative stamp.  The original play is dropped into the setting of a 1950′s asylum “where the patients bring the story to life in a Marat-Sade inspired treatment with a steam-punk flare”.  A funkified mix that definitely works.

The leads are executed fabulously by Steve Zediker (Sweeney Todd) and Pam Sainsbury Havig (Mrs. Lovett).  Veterans of theater, they collectively bring a raw and powerful performance filled with a youthful bounce and cheeky, hysterical wit.

Zediker has been waiting a lifetime to play Sweeney.  It’s a dream realized and in the company of great friends. His bold, passionate voice roars into the audience whether he is singing or speaking.  You fear him. You warm to his tender side.  You laugh when he makes unexpected jokes about his morbid behavior. He moves forcefully across the stage at times as a madman and alternately as a comedian.  His singing voice is deep and gorgeous.  It’s possible the role has been waiting for Steve Zediker…

Sainsbury Havig hits the stage and you immediately feel the invitation to come and play with her. Her endearing silliness is contagious and FUN!!!  Her character, Mrs. Lovett, is a baker who owns a failing meat pie shop located directly beneath Sweeney’s past and present barber shop.  She has loved him always and becomes his partner in crime.  The loveliness of her singing voice carries you to the depths of her longing and raises you right back up to the lofty height of her humor. She commands the scene with her sassy romping and lively one liners! Simply put, she takes you on a ride and you will be better for it.

The cast is rounded out by a myriad of first rate performances.  Jake Wynn brings some intense heat and beauty as Anthony Hope.  Keli Reah Mitchell elegantly offers a pure and gracious Johanna. Bridget Mayer crafts her character, Tobias Ragg, in a brightly exuberant and innocent manner. Vincent Raye plays Judge Turpin with a very almighty, regal and sinister air while his counterpart, The Beadle, played by Bobbi Hawk, slithers around in a seductive, menacing and hysterical style.  Chaslee Schweitzer brilliantly convinces of her wild madness as the Beggar Woman. Chris Decker, as Adolfo Pirelli, explodes across the stage in an energetic and authoritative way! And the chorus- oh the chorus- they are a terrific show unto themselves!  I found the costuming inventive and spot on.

A character in it’s own right is the music.  The audience was moved expertly from scene to scene with the stylings of  Kathy Honaker, Cassidy Gamsby Seeman and Karl Henning.

I completely enjoyed myself and I’m getting an idea I want to see it again!  Most likely with no camera in tow and a few beers in it’s place…

I’m sure you are now clamoring for ticket info and dates so grab your smartphone and get ready to type:

406 591 9535

Friday June 15 8pm

Saturday June 16 8pm

Sunday June 17 2 pm

Friday June 22 8pm

Saturday June 23 8pm

Friday June 29 8pm

Saturday June 30 8pm

Jodie Tenicin Smith