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Donna Lynne Champlin and Nik Walker Will Lead Outdoor SWEENEY TODD at the Hangar Theatre Beginning Next Week

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Sweeney Todd runs from July 22 to August 7.

Donna Lynne Champlin and Nik Walker Will Lead Outdoor SWEENEY TODD at the Hangar Theatre Beginning Next Week

The Hangar Theatre is mounting a new production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street July 22-August 7 in its first ever outdoor season! The opening performance of Sweeney Todd by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim will begin Friday, July 23 at 7:30 PM. A preview performance will precede the opening on July 22 at 7:30 PM; matinee and evening performances will run through Saturday, August 7. The cast stars Donna Lynne Champlin (from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Mrs. Lovett and Nik Walker (Broadway/Tour Hamilton) as Sweeney Todd.

This award-winning musical tackles societal issues of power and class with dark humor and wit, and features one of the most stunning scores ever written for the stage. Director Sanaz Ghajar (she/her) interprets the story of Sweeney Todd as relevant to the modern call for racial justice and equity.

Ghajar shares, "Sweeney Todd is a revenge tragedy about the human instinct to survive, despite being set up to fail. Sweeney has no choice but to achieve justice through violence, but in a world where revenge is the only option, there is no real liberation. This is a lesson most notably felt by the women in the story - and the violence propagated on them. I am honored to be working in live theater again while simultaneously re-envisioning how these characters and their stories are portrayed in our current cultural landscape. Sweeney's depiction of systems of societal oppression that turn people against each other parallel our own broken structures. What fertile grounds to investigate at a moment in time when we work to rebuild."

Joining Ghajar, the creative and production team includes Music Director Simone Allen, Choreographer Ben Hobbs, Sound Designer Sun Hee Kil, Set Designer Diggle, Lighting Designer Marika Kent, Costume Designer Sarita P. Fellows, Production Stage Manager Amanda Spooner*, Deck Stage Manager Victoria Whooper*, Music Personnel Consultant Peter Rothbart, Casting Director Michael Cassara, and Assistant Directors/Hangar Lab Company members Kate Semmens and Arianna Tilley.

Nik Walker (he/him) will star as "Sweeney Todd," a wronged barber in 19th-century London who returns from exile with his blade and a vengeance. Sweeney opens a barbershop, conveniently located above Mrs. Lovett's (played by Donna Lynne Champlin) cannibalistic meat-pie shop, and finds a memorable way to enact revenge. Walker's career began at the Hangar Theatre where he appeared in Rent (2009) and Man of La Mancha and 212 Giles (2010). He is an actor, writer, and professor at NYU. In addition to his role as Aaron Burr on Broadway, he is also the cohost of the arts/activism talk show The Chaos Twins and the creator of his movie podcast, Little Justice on the Broadway Podcast Network. This fall, Walker will resume leading the Broadway cast of Ain't Too Proud.

Donna Lynne Champlin (she/her) is a Rochester native, and an OBIE, Drama Desk, and Gracie Award-winning actress best known as "Paula Proctor" on The CW's critically acclaimed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and "Barb" in NETFLIX's Feel The Beat. She attended Carnegie Mellon University and Oxford University. A Princess Grace Grant winner, Champlin appears on numerous original Broadway cast recordings (OBC), podcasts, and animated features. Champlin shares, "Sweeney Todd is my favorite musical. Ever. It was the first OBC album I ever purchased and my husband and I bonded over it on our first date. I've done Sweeney Todd in almost every capacity in my career. As Johanna, as Pirelli, as an ensemble member, as an orchestra pit member, as a background vocalist, as onstage orchestra, as a conductor and a stage manager. I even sold tickets to it as a box office employee. But the brass ring for me was always someday playing Mrs Lovett. I'm absolutely thrilled and so grateful to the Hangar Theatre for fulfilling this life long dream of mine." Donna Lynne's husband, Andrew Arrow, will be playing the role of Pirelli for the third time in his career, including in the 1995 Hangar Theatre production of Sweeney Todd.

In addition to her vast Sweeney history, Champlin's previous Broadway credits include James Joyce's The Dead, By Jeeves, Hollywood Arms, and Billy Elliot: The Musical. Her additional film/tv credits include Blacklist, Law & Order, Submissions Only, The Good Wife, The Good Fight, Birdman, Younger, Downsizing, Another Period and Yes, God, Yes. She will appear in the upcoming Showtime series, The First Lady.

The Hangar's 47th Mainstage season will continue with live, in-person outdoor productions of Queens Girl in the World and An Odyssey. Shirley Serotsky, another Rochester native and artistic director of the Hangar Theatre, programmed the 2021 outdoor season, helming the creation of an entirely new outdoor performance space and ensuring the return to live theatre in the Finger Lakes. The Hangar thanks Premier Performance Partner Tompkins Trust Company, Mainstage Media Sponsor Cayuga Radio Group, Partner In The Arts Ithaca College, Partner In Health Be Sure Testing, Premier Show Sponsor Gola Osteria, Associate Show Sponsor Insero & Co., and Media Show Sponsor Ithaca Voice.

Sweeney Todd runs from July 22 to August 7. Seats are limited, and available while supplies last. Student discounts and Pay What You Will tickets are available at every performance in 2021. Learn more or buy now at hangartheatre.org/sweeney.


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