Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre Presents SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

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Hold on to your heads: Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre (FMCT) is bringing one of Broadway's most thrilling tales to the stage just in time for Halloween.

FMCT will present Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street for ten performances: October 18-20, 24-27, and 31-November 2. Tickets are available starting September 30 and can be purchased at www.fmct.org or by calling 701-235-6778.

Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's acclaimed musical adaption of Christopher Bond's chilling melodrama, tells the gruesome tale of a barber who returns to London after 15 years in exile for a crime he did not commit. Vowing to take revenge on the judge and the town that wronged him, Sweeney moves into a barbershop above the pie shop of Mrs. Lovett-who finds a profitable use for his victims.

With multiple revivals on Broadway and London's West End, as well as countless regional productions and a Golden Globe Award-winning film adaptation, Sweeney Todd has remained a fixture in the musical theatre world since its 1979 debut.

"It is one of those shows that hooks you in, from the first note of music to the very last," said FMCT Artistic Director Adam Pankow. "There are twists and turns, things that build emotional suspense and mess with your brain a little bit. There's a reason that people are thrilled and scared by this show 40 years after it premiered. It is just that good."

This production will be FMCT's first experience undertaking a musical thriller of such great scale-and with a new genre comes new challenges. Sweeney Todd is one of Sondheim's most complex scores; the show is almost entirely sung, with only 20% spoken dialogue, and the talented 24-member cast has dedicated their first three weeks of rehearsal to learning the complicated harmonies and counterpoint.

"It's a whole different kind of storytelling," Pankow said. "It's not a typical show. There are technical challenges that no other show has offered our production teams. It's making us all think a little harder."

The artistic staff must also navigate the special effects that are required by a musical with such murderous motives. How to design a barber's chair to eject a victim and throw him down the chute? What should the fake blood be comprised of? How does it get from a razor blade to a neck?

One thing is certain: they will not be shying away from the horror.

"This is going to be bloody," Pankow said. "We want people to jump from their seats a little bit."

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will run October 18-20, 24-27, and 31-November 2 at FMCT. Tickets can be purchased at www.fmct.org or by calling 701-235-6778.

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