SWEENEY TODD to Open at TheatreWorks in October

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SWEENEY TODD to Open at TheatreWorks in October

TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, presents the gripping Broadway musical SWEENEY TODD: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This masterpiece, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, tells the darkly thrilling tale of a 19th century barber's bloody vengeance. With the help of Mrs. Lovett, the devious purveyor of "the worst pies in London," the cruelly wronged Mr. Todd exacts grisly revenge on the residents of London. Theatreworks Artistic Director Robert Kelley will direct this eight-time Tony Award-winning thrill-ride.SWEENEY TODD plays October 8 - November 2, 2014 (press opening October 11) at TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and information the public may visit www.TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.

Based on the Christopher Bond retelling of the original penny dreadful, SWEENEY TODD follows the increasing madness of its title character after he has his love, life, and happiness torn from him by a corrupt London judge. In seeking justice, Sweeney Todd awakens a ravenous bloodlust in himself that is only elevated by Mrs. Lovett's frighteningly delicious new pie recipe. Todd and Lovett battle their greed, thirst for violence, and mutual mistrust in hauntingly beautiful and darkly funny musical numbers. TheatreWorks is pleased to present its 20th production of a Stephen Sondheim musical.

Stephen Sondheim, the prolific American composer and lyricist, is best known for his modern classics such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy. Sondheim has been hailed as one of the greatest lyricists of all time and Frank Rich, the notorious critic, once wrote, "[Sondheim] has changed the texture of the musical as radically as Oscar Hammerstein, and may yet leave our theatre profoundly altered." SWEENEY TODD, which opened on Broadway in 1979 and starred Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou, was called "more fun than a graveyard on the night of the annual skeleton's ball" by the Daily News while the Post noted, "It is not just next month's cocktail conversation-it will be talked about for years." The musical has been revived several times on Broadway and the West End, and was adapted to film by Tim Burton in 2007.

Hugh Wheeler, an English-born, U.S.-based playwright and screenwriter, also worked with Sondheim on A Little Night Music, for which he won both a Drama Desk and Tony Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical. He worked in many genres, penning dozens of mystery novels at the beginning of his career and moving on to co-write the book for Leonard Bernstein's Candideas well as screenplays including the film adaptation of A Little Night Music. At the time of his death in 1987, he had written several more plays and musicals, and won three Tony Awards.

The SWEENEY TODD cast features David Studwell as "Sweeney Todd," Tory Ross as "Mrs. Lovett," Spencer Kiely as "Toby," Mindy Lym as "Johanna," Mia Fryvecind Gimenez as "Beggar Woman," Jack Mosbacher as "Anthony," Martin Rojas Dietrich as "Beadle," Noel Anthony as "Pirelli," Lee Strawn as "Judge Turpin," joined by an ensemble including Nik Duggan, Dominic Michael Lewis, Caitlin O'Leary, Nick Schmittzeh, Kelly Swartz, and Caroline Altman.

David Studwell (Sweeney Todd) has been featured Off-Broadway in Encores: Applause! as well as at various regional theatres including Chicago's Goodman Theatre and the Kennedy Center. He has previously played the role of "Sweeney Todd" at PCPA Theatrefest. Tory Ross (Mrs. Lovett) has performed in theatres around the country including the Broadway production of Kinky Boots and the second national tour of Wicked. Mindy Lym (Johanna) was seen in TheatreWorks' productions The Importance of Being Earnest, Emma, and the workshop Unlock'd, as well as at many theatres around the Bay Area. Jack Mosbacher (Anthony) has been seen in various regional theatres including 42nd Street Moon, San Francisco Opera, and Broadway by the Bay. Spencer Kiely (Toby) has performed in various productions at regional and New York City theatres including the title role in Pippin at ReVision Theatre. Mia Fryvecind Gimenez (Beggar Woman) reprises the role she performed at Redwood City Symphony's concert production of Sweeney Todd. Martin Rojas Dietrich (Beadle) returns to TheatreWorks after appearing in the 2012 production of Big River. Noel Anthony (Pirelli) is also a TheatreWorks vet, where he has been seen in A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, and Merrily We Roll Along, as well as at various theatres around the Bay Area. Lee Strawn (Judge Turpin) has been seen with TheatreWorks in Jane Eyre, as well as around the Bay Area at companies including the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and the Diablo Light Opera.

Director Robert Kelley is TheatreWorks' Founder and Artistic Director and has served as artistic head of the company since its inception in 1970. He has directed more than 150 TheatreWorks productions, including many world and regional premieres. In 2003 he was honored with the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Paine Knickerbocker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He received BATCC Awards for Outstanding Direction for his productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures, Rags, Sweeney Todd, Another Midsummer Night, Sunday in the Park with George, Jane Eyre, and Caroline, or Change. He recently directedMarry Me a Little, The Hound of Baskervilles, and Once on This Island.

With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatergoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical that played on Broadway for three years before embarking on a 19 month national tour, was first workshopped and received its world premiere.

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