The Garden Theatre Starts Season Off with Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD, 9/12 - 10/5

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The Garden Theatre Starts Season Off with Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD, 9/12 - 10/5

The Garden Theatre is proud to present TheatreWorks Florida's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street showing September 12 - October 5, 2014. Sweeney Todd kicks off the Garden Theatre's 2014-2015 Season and is sponsored by Joe Worsham and Becky Worsham Farrant at Pacific Global Investment Management Company and by Insight Credit Union.

Sweeney Todd will be the first live play to use the Garden Theatre's new state-of-the-art lighting system, which includes LED lights programmed on a cutting-edge console with the ability to make lightning-fast adjustments, as easy as from a mobile device. These new elements have been added to intensify the patron experience and immerse them deeper into the story.

The suspenseful, heart-pounding Stephen Sondheim masterpiece, currently in its 35th anniversary year, tells the infamous tale of revenge by an unjustly exiled barber returning to 19th century London. His thirst for blood soon includes his unfortunate customers, while a resourceful owner of a pie shop downstairs has the people of London lining up in droves for a mysterious new meat pie recipe.

Sweeney Todd is directed by Scott A. Cook, the artistic producer of TheatreWorks Florida. It is a definite departure from Cook's most recent shows at the Garden Theatre - the musical comedies Nunsense and Legally Blonde. Cook has developed show designs and concepts for companies such as Universal Studios Florida and the Walt Disney World Company, and won numerous producers' honors including the Pierrots Award, Best Musical for Cats at Theatre Winter Haven in 2006 and 10 awards including Best of Fest at the 2012 Orlando International Fringe Festival for Little Shop of Horrors.

As he prepared for Sweeney Todd, Cook researched the history of the character and discovered a debate as to whether a demented barber really existed. The character first appeared in an 1846 "penny dreadful," a type of horror tale of the era published in serial form. Many of these publications were fictionalized accounts of real crimes, and allegedly the writer who first set down Sweeney Todd's name in print was known to hunt regularly through newspapers for his story ideas.

"The 19th century London world of Sweeney Todd is a twisted, bizarre, nightmarish puzzle that resonates with the audience's own senses and experiences, begging the question: what is evil and what is madness?" said Cook. "The message of Sweeney Todd is clear: there is evil and madness afoot and nothing will be served up plain. Be warned..."

The remarkable cast includes: Nick Kroger as Sweeney Todd, Candy Heller as Mrs. Lovett, Robb Ross as Anthony Hope, Jennica McCleary as Johanna, Janine Papin as the Beggar Woman, Alexander Mrazek as Judge Turpin, Nathan Jessee as Beadle Bamford, Benjamin Ludwig as Adolfo Pirelli, and Nick Rishel as Tobias Ragg.

Ensemble members include Eric Desnoyers, Tony Moreno, Matthew Johnson, Omar Montes, Kristy Barnes, Lindsey Gradwohl, Frida Söderdahl and Desiree Perez.

Those who have previously appeared on the Garden Theatre stage include Janine Papin (Nunsense, 33 Variations), Alexander Mrazek (A Christmas Survival Guide, Alice Lost in Wonderland), Matthew Johnson (Legally Blonde), and Desiree Perez (Hairspray, Nunsense, Little Shop of Horrors).

Tickets to Sweeney Todd are $25 for seniors and students, $29 for adults. Show times are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. There will be an Industry Night performance on Monday, September 29 at 8pm with $15 tickets for those in the theatre industry.

For tickets, visit gardentheatre.org or contact the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736). Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts of up to 25% by contacting group sales manager Jana Goupil at 407-877-4736 x208.

TheatreWorks Florida is a professional Central Florida-based theatre company. Formed in 2007, TheatreWorks offers some of the finest theatrical musicals available today as well as produces new, original works from area artists and artists from around the country. For more information, visit theatreworksfl.org.

Located in the heart of historic downtown Winter Garden on Plant Street, the Garden Theatre is a not-for-profit organization committed to enriching, engaging, and entertaining through creative experiences. The theatre, which reopened 2008, showcases an atmospheric theatre in a Mediterranean Revival style venue. The Garden Theatre hosts live plays, concerts, movies, and more to the residents of and visitors to the city of Winter Garden. For additional information and tickets to Garden Theatre events, contact the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736) or gardentheatre.org.

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