Step Aside Mrs. Lovett! Former White House Pastry Chef Named 'Official Pie Maker' for Immersive SWEENEY TODD Off-Broadway
Producers of the critically acclaimed Tooting Arts Club's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street announced today that former White House Executive Pastry Chef William "Bill" Yosses will serve as the production's official pie maker throughout the New York run.
Sweeney Todd has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond. The production is directed by Bill Buckhurst and features music supervision by Benjamin Cox, set and costume designs by Simon Kenny and lighting design by Amy Mae Smith.
This production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett immerses audiences in a completely new theatrical experience. This Sweeney Todd comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London where the show debuted in Harrington's Pie and Mash Shop, the oldest continuously operating pie shop in Britain.
The working pie-shop environment will be re-created at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, NYC) where performances begin on February 14, 2017 and opening night is set for March 1, 2017. Tickets go on sale to the general public on October 24, 2016. Patrons who visit www.SweeneyToddNYC.com and sign up for the mailing list will receive an offer to buy tickets early before the general public.
In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, "pie and mash" will be available for purchase by all audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. Bill Yosses will recreate the "pie and mash" experience for Barrow Street audiences. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce - otherwise known as "liquor" - which is an optional extra. Both meat and veg pie options will be available.
"We are delighted that Bill Yosses - the 'Crust Master' - Is our official pie maker at our pie-shop at Barrow Street," said producer Rachel Edwards. "Bill and his talented team are perfectly placed to be introducing New Yorkers to this quintessential London dish. Their involvement - like all members of our creative team - will contribute so greatly to the atmosphere and authenticity of this unique theatrical experience."
"I am so excited to be working with the creative team of Sweeney Todd to bring to life the full enjoyment of this popular musical," said Mr. Yosses. "I am creating a modern and delicious version of the classic English 'pie and mash' dish that theatergoers can enjoy before the show. It will be a truly 'immersive - you are there - experience' of the best kind."
Hailed by President Barack Obama as "the Crust Master," Bill Yosses first joined the White House staff in 2007, hired by then First Lady Laura Bush. President Obama has said of his work that "whatever pie you like, he will make it and it will be the best pie you have ever eaten." Yosses ended his time at the White House in early 2014 and has since moved to New York City where he is the chef owner & founder of Perfect Pie, which maintains a green and sustainable ethos adhering to strict sourcing guidelines for the integrity and production of artisanal pies.
Full casting will be announced soon.
Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim's greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.
Tooting Arts Club was established in 2011 with the aim to stage high quality professional productions in an area that lacks a permanent home for theatre. The company takes inspiration from the area, using local buildings to stage performances that draw audiences from across London, including critically acclaimed productions of Invasion! by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Lucy Kirkwood's Tinderbox, Barrie Keefe's Barbarians (Tooting and West End) and an outdoor A Midsummer Night's Dream. This third encounter of Sweeney Todd will be Tooting Arts Club's eighth production - and their first in New York City.
William (Bill) Yosses is the chef/owner of Perfect Pie, an artisanal pie making bakery in New York City. The pies have been featured in the New York Times and New York Magazine and listed in the top ten pies of New York City. He previously held the title of White House Executive Pastry Chef for 7 years. Other pastry chef experience includes The Dressing Room in Westport Connecticut, owned by actor/philanthropist Paul Newman, and Bouley Restaurant in New York City. As pastry chef of the White House he planned desserts for the First Family and their guests from breakfast meetings to State Dinners, over the span of two administrations. While at the White House he worked closely with Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative to improve health outcomes related to food issues and led school groups on tours of the South Lawn vegetable garden. He has published two books. His foundation Kitchen Garden Laboratory, which creates curriculum using cooking to teach science, was hired to run workshops for the NYC Board of Education's STEM Institute, and Harvard Medical School's summer cooking/science study program for Native American Students.
Photo Credit: Yoshi Kametani