BWW Reviews: SoLuna Studio's SWEENEY TODD
October is the perfect time for a production of the classic Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It's wonderfully creepy, chilling, and unsettling... just the thing to get you in the mood for Halloween. Directed by Karen Braun - who also does the choreography, costumes, and sets- SoLuna Studio's production, running through October 27th, shows you can do a lot with a little - more about that in a bit.
Leading the cast in the title role was the talented Andrew Murano. His strong voice was wonderful for the complex Stephen Sondheim score and he truly immersed himself in the disturbing character. I actually also saw Mr. Murano in SoLuna's summer production of HAIR - as Berger, a stark change from the demon Sweeney Todd - and he delivered superbly on each role.
Nicole Abramowitz portrayed Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd's cohort as he seeks revenge for (1) being exiled on bogus charges and (2) for the death of his beloved wife, Lucy. Indeed an audience favorite was her rendition of "Poor Thing" and "Wait". Ms. Abramowitz's beautiful voice soared as she went through the show's twenty nine numbers with lots of sass and wittiness.
And rounding out the rest of the gifted cast was Bobby Peterson, Amanda Geraci, Justin Autz, Amanda Pesca, Jason Donohue, Joseph Hailey, Avi Godstein, JulieAnna Arey, Anne Schindler, and Jonathan Skelly. I am glad to say that everyone had their moment to shine.
The charming Long Island venue isn't a large one. It seats about 100 people and the actors don't even use microphones. This means, as you can imagine, that they have to get very creative to get the story across. For this they succeeded well with fog, ghoulish make-up, wigs with extremely disheveled hair, and coffins skewed about the stage, and torn cloths hanging in disarray.
SoLuna's production of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is indeed a great showing especially, again, with Halloween around the corner. Great direction, a wonderful cast, and a creepy story make for a great night of theatre.
Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is presented by SoLuna Studio of Hauppauge, Long Island, through October 27th. Libretto by Hugh Wheeler, Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Direction & Choreography & Costumes & Sets by Karen Braun, Music Direction by Gina Salvia, Lighting & Sound by Megan Pietroforte. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 708-9681 or visit solunastudiony.com.