SWEENEY TODD Opens 'After Dark' at Kelrik Productions, 5/18

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Sweeney Todd, the Tony Award-winning musical, sails into Unity May 18 to June 2, 2012. Based on a version of Sweeney Todd by Christopher Bond, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, it's a tragicomic tale of murder, mayhem, and meat pies.

Winner of the Tony Award in 1979, Sweeney Todd is considered one of Sondheim's masterpieces and has enjoyed recent revivals and a film by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp. This hauntingly chilling story explores love, loss and blood-soaked revenge. After hard years in exile for a crime he didn't commit, Sweeney returns to London to find his wife dead and his daughter in the hands of the evil Judge Turpin. In his rage, Sweeney takes his revenge on the populace of London. With the help of his wily neighbour, Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney lures his victims with a charming smile before casually ending their lives with a flick of his razor and has them baked into pies.

"When we do something well known like Sweeney Todd, We like to approach the work from a completely fresh point of view," said Erik Austin, Artistic Director of Kelrik Productions "Bringing in guest director Larry Kaml, who also plays the title role, will ensure that any pre-conceived expectations will go out the window. This show will be intense and intimate, like a séance, starting in a small Victorian setting and out of that will grow this marvelous musical."

"When offered to direct Sweeney Todd , I was thrilled at the opportunity," said Guest Director Larry Kaml. "I think Sweeney is one of the most perfect pieces of music theatre in existence. I love the rich complexity of Sweeney as he journeys from hope to despair to revenge in a dark and gritty Victorian playground. In approaching this production, I was drawn to Sondheim's original impulse to make this show a chamber musical, as opposed to a large sweeping production that first hit Broadway in 1979. This more intimate approach will work superbly to create a beautiful and chilling show on Kelrik's stage."

Stephen Sondheim's musical thriller stars Larry Kaml (Sweeney Todd), Lacey McNamara (Mrs. Lovett), Benjamin King (Tobias), Cody Pettit (Anthony), Danielle Dutro (Johanna), Debora Schwartz (Beggar Women), Red Rahim (Judge Turpin),Torran Kitts (The Beadle), Allison Lynch (Johanna), and Lester Wilson (Pirelli). The Ensemble includes Gryphon Strom, Westen Meyer, Harry Sadler, Bethany Bagg, Thea Bodger, Linda Miner and Michelle Hansen. The creative Team includes: Director Larry Kaml, with Music Direction by Lacey McNamara, Assistant Director Christian Clarno, Stage Manager Roberta Hart, Set Design by Erik Austin, Lighting Design by Ryan Manus and Costume Design Costume Capers.

The original production of Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) on March 1, 1979 in a production directed by Harold Prince. The musical won eight 1979 Tony Awards including Best Musical of the Year and ran for 557 performances.

Tickets to Sweeney Todd can be purchased online at www.kelrikproductions.org, or at Cheap Thrills in San Luis Obispo. Sweeney Todd will perform at Unity, 1490 Southwood Drive in San Luis Obispo, from May 18 to June 2. Please note the Kelrik After Dark performance schedule: Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM. Ticket are $20. Seating is open and on a first come basis. Sweeney Todd is presented as part of Kelrik's After Dark series. Due to the show's adult subject matter it is required that audience members under the age of 17 bring a parent or guardian with them to the performance.

Kelrik's primary goal has always been to provide the highest quality family theatre featuring local talent. This year Kelrik adds the Kelrik After Dark series: Avenue Q, The Rocky Horror Show, and They're Playing Our Song. Because these shows are geared toward adult audiences, children under the age of 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Curtain times for Kelrik after Dark performances are Friday and Saturday evenings only.

For more information, call 805 543-PLAY (7529).

Photo credit: Danielle Dutro Photography

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