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Donna Lynne Champlin Likely As 'Pirelli/Fogg' in Sweeney Todd Revival

BroadwayWorld has learned that Donna Lynne Champlin is in final negotiations for the dual role of Pirelli and Fogg in the upcoming Sweeney Todd revival.

Reported here on BroadwayWorld.com on April 5, 2005 in the Broadway Pulse, Tony-Winner Michael Cerveris is already confirmed for the title role in the revival of Sweeney Todd. The front runner for Lovett is none other than Patti LuPone making her long-awaited return to the Broadway stage. Newcomer Ben Magnuson has been cast as Anthony, and Mark Jacoby is the front runner to play the judge.

The epochal horror musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler is scheduled to begin previews on October 3, with a November 3rd opening night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The production, which was re-conceptualized by director-designer John Doyle, was a much-acclaimed smash at London's Watermill Theatre in the fall of 2004 and successfully transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios. Doyle's scaled-down SweeneyTodd famously featured the Demon Barber, his meat pie-baking accomplice Mrs. Lovett and other characters playing instruments. Doyle will also direct the Broadway production.

Donna Lynne Champlin has appeared on Broadway as the Older Helen in Hal Prince's Hollywood Arms, Honoria Glossop in By Jeeves and Mary Jane in James Joyce's The Dead. Off-Broadway: Daisy in Bloomer Girl (Encores!), May in Very Warm for May, Reunion and Stars in Your Eyes. National tour: Ruby Keeler in Jolson. She appears on the Recordings of 3hree, Reunion, By Jeeves, Our Heart Sings and Carols for a Cure 2002. She was recently seen on stage at the Paper Mill Playhouse in "Harold and Maude" and is currently at Goodspeed in "Flight of the Lawnchair Man"

Michael Cerveris most recently appeared as Giorgio in the Lincoln Center production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion, appearing opposite Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald. Cerveris was a 2004 Tony winner for his performance as John Wilkes Booth in the Roundabout Theatre production of Assassins. Other credits include Wintertime, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Titanic and The Who's Tommy.

LuPone, who has been one of Broadway's foremost leading ladies since her star-making turn in 1979's Evita, has been well-regarded in recent years as an interpreter of Sondheim's works. She has played Mrs. Lovett in a concert production of Sweeney Todd that was presented by the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Ravinia Festival in Illionois; the San Francisco concert is preserved on DVD. LuPone has also appeared in A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George and Passion at Ravinia. She recently reprised her performance as Fosca in the latter show at Lincoln Center, and also sang Sweeney's "A Little Priest" with George Hearn for Sondheim's 75th birthday tribute benefit, Children and Art.. It was recently announced that LuPone will return to Ravinia on August 26th to play the scheming mayoress Cora in Anyone Can Whistle alongside Audra McDonald and Michael Cerveris.

LuPone, who graduated from Julliard and was a member of John Houseman's famed Acting Company in the '70s, has not appeared on Broadway since the 2001 revival of Noises Off. In the meantime, she has appeared in cabaret venues and concert productions at Ravinia, Encores! and elsewhere; she won raves for her performance in Encores' 2004 Can-Can. Other Broadway credits include The Old Neighborhood, Master Class, Anything Goes, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Oliver!, Working, The Three Sisters, The Robber Bridegroom and The Beggar's Opera. Additionally, she originated the role of Fantine in the London production of Les Miserables, starred as Norma Desmond in the 1993 West End production of Sunset Boulevard (her last appearance in a fully-staged musical), and played Genevieve in the original production of The Baker's Wife, which closed on the road but has attained cult status in years since. She won a 1980 Best Actress in a Musical Tony for her performance in the title role of Evita, and was also nominated for Anything Goes in 1988 and The Robber Bridegroom in 1976. LuPone is also a noted screen actress, having appeared in such films as Summer of Sam and State and Main.

The original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd opened at the Uris Theatre on March 1, 1979 with Angela Lansbury, Len Cariou and Victor Garber as stars. The ingeniously staged production, which was the last of director Hal Prince's five great 70's collaborations with Stephen Sondheim, received 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. A simplified production starring Bob Gunton and Beth Fowler ran at the Circle in the Square Theatre in 1989, and was dubbed Teeny Todd.


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