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BWW Review: SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at Gettysburg Community Theatre

This sold out production is at GCT through January 30th

BWW Review: SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at Gettysburg Community Theatre

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with music and lyrics by the late Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, first appeared on Broadway in 1979. It is a tragic tale with challenging music that requires a highly skilled cast. This Tony Award winning musical takes the stage at Gettysburg Community Theatre through January 30th, and the cast and crew are definitely up to the challenge.

Technical director Michael Connelly deserves special mention for his set and lighting design. The strategic use of red lighting and red paint splatters on the set lend an appropriate air of mystery, foreboding, and foreshadowing to the chilling tale. Director Chad-Alan Carr did a spectacular job with blocking in this production. The opening scene and the scene at the asylum are particularly haunting. The cast, under the vocal music direction of Carrie Conklin, handles the score beautifully. The harmonies are tight, and the ensemble manages the difficult rhythms and overlapping lyrics well.

The ensemble, made up of Alissa Baker, Kaitlyn Ball, Sara Bollinger, Drew Derreth, Maggie Gebo (who also portrays the Bird Seller), Emma Kirk, Jocelyn Meyer, David Miller (who also appears as Jonas Fogg and a policeman), Caitlyn Suerdieck, Audrey Trax, Tessa Trax, Greyson Wallace, and Greg Trax (who also takes on the role of a policeman), has wonderful energy. Their facial expressions and movements are intense and draw the audience into the scene.

C. Andrew Adcock is delightful as the rival barber Perrelli. Adcock plays the role with charisma and humor and astounds the audience with an amazing falsetto. David Bowman and Ken Griggs portray Beadle and Judge Turpin, the men responsible for Sweeney Todd's imprisonment. Bowman and Griggs do a great job as the villains of the story, highlighting the way in which they use their power and status to get what they want. Melissa Janicki's incredible vocal range and acting skill are on display in her role as the Beggar Woman. Joshua Schriver and Emma Holt take the stage as Anthony Hope and Johanna. Their interactions are adorable, and their clear vocal tones blend well together.

Rounding out the cast are Alex Baugher as Tobias, April Howard as Mrs. Lovette, and Joshua Rikas as Sweeney Todd. Baugher is absolutely endearing as Tobias with a vocal performance on "Not While I'm Around" that gives the audience chills. The change in Baugher's demeanor when Tobias has his breakdown is astounding. Howard's Mrs. Lovette is saucy, humorous, and intelligent, and her interactions with both Baugher and Rikas are filled with energy and emotion. Rikas gives one of the best performances as Sweeney Todd that this reviewer has ever seen. His voice is strong, smooth, and expressive, and his acting presents the audience with a wonderfully nuanced Sweeney Todd.

There are many chilling, haunting, and beautiful moments in this production, but "My Friends", "Pretty Women", and "Not While I'm Around" really highlight the vocal talent on Gettysburg Community Theatre's stage. The entire cast and crew of Sweeney Todd deserve a round of applause for their performance. While this production is sold out, be sure to catch the theatre's upcoming performances at www.gettysburgcommunitytheatre.org.



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From This Author - Andrea Stephenson