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Gemignani Subs for Hess in 'Sweeney Todd' National Tour

Alexander Gemignani, who treaded the dark alleys of Fleet Street as the Beadle in the Broadway revival Sweeney Todd, will portray the title role in the national tour beginning November 13, while David Hess is "on leave from the show to recover from vocal strain," reports the production spokespersons.

Hess is scheduled to rejoin the tour opposite Judy Kaye (as Mrs. Lovett) beginning December 31.  David Garry, the understudy, has performed during Hess' leave.

John Doyle's Sweeney Todd currently resides at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre.

Gemignani recently starred as Jean Valjean in the Broadway return-engagement of Les Miserables and is billed to appear in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George.  Gemignani's other credits include Assassins, Passion and South Pacific.

The national tour cast also features members of the Tony Award-winning Broadway company including Benjamin Magnuson (Anthony), Lauren Molina (Johanna), Diana DiMarzio (Beggar Woman) and John Arbo (Mr. Fogg); joined by Benjamin Eakeley (Beadle), Keith Buterbaugh (Judge Turpin), Katrina Yaukey (Pirelli) and Edmund Bagnell (Tobias Ragg).

"An irrepressibly witty musical revenge fantasy, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd tells the tale of a master barber whom a corrupt judge has unjustly exiled to Australia," state press notes, "Sweeney returns to London with vengeance on his mind-and a well-honed razor in his hands," state press notes.

Sweeney Todd features music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler and adaptation by Christopher Bond.  The design team for Sweeney Todd includes Richard G. Jones (lighting), Dan Moses Schreier (sound), Paul Huntley (wig/hair) and Angelina Avallone (makeup).

Director and designer John Doyle won a 2006 Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for this production of Sweeney Todd.  His revival of Sondheim's Company won this year's Tony Award for best revival of a musical.

Photo of Alexander Gemignani by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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