The Friday 5(+1): Brett Mutter of Cumberland County Playhouse's SWEENEY TODD

The Friday 5(+1): Brett Mutter of Cumberland County Playhouse's SWEENEY TODD

Jason Ross and Weslie Webster lend their starpower as Cumberland County Playhouse debuts its latest musical offering with the challenging, stimulating, macabre tale of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, opening tonight on the mainstage and running through October 26. The Tony Award-winning musical, which features an iconic Stephen Sondheim score, is directed by Bryce McDonald, with musical direction by Ron Murphy and choreography by Ashley Gentry.

"I'm so thrilled that we have the chance to perform this classic musical thriller for our guests," says McDonald. "It's the perfect mixture of classic thriller elements to leave you on the edge of your seat, liberally spiced with charismatic wit and complemented by a remarkable score. Sweeney Todd may be one of our most deliciously spooky offerings yet."

The Friday 5(+1): Brett Mutter of Cumberland County Playhouse's SWEENEY TODDManaging to find time amid a hectic tech week, actor Brett Mutter - who plays Beadle Bamford - graciously agreed to submit to The Friday 5(+1) and to answer our questions, hopefully, intriguing potential audience members with some background about his theatrical career and to explain why he thinks you should reserve your tickets now for Sweeney Todd.

Here's your chance to get to know Brett Mutter:

Brett Mutter (Beadle Bamford)

What was your first "live, onstage" taste of theater? My first "live, onstage" taste of theater was my freshman year of high school when we did Fame. I was a part of the musician ensemble because I played the piano, but because I couldn't walk around the stage with a piano in hand, they gave me a tambourine.

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? My favorite pre-show ritual is a good vocal warm-up paired with water and some deep breathing.

What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? My most memorable "the show must go on" moment also occurred in high school when I was in a student-written play. I was supposed to lie in bed and "sleep," but as I went to get in the bed, one of the legs broke off. It was certainly unable to hold me, so I did the first thing that popped into my head: stood there and stared into nothingness. The show went on.

What's your dream role? My list of dream roles is never-ending and ever-changing, but today's leader would have to be Damian in Mean Girls.

Who's your theatrical crush? My female theatrical crush is Laura Michelle Kelly and my male theatrical crush is Brian d'Arcy James.

Why should people come SWEENEY TODD? People should come see our production of Sweeney Todd because it is beautifully sung. I could listen to my colleagues sing this score over and over again. In addition, we are incorporating steampunk and grunge elements that is sure to give a fresh take on this "musical thriller!"

The Friday 5(+1): Brett Mutter of Cumberland County Playhouse's SWEENEY TODDAbout Sweeney Todd at Cumberland County Playhouse

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a cutthroat tale of retribution, is set to open on the Mainstage of Cumberland County Playhouse Friday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Sweeney Todd (Jason Ross, Boeing Boeing), formerly known as barber Benjamin Barker, was convicted on false charges and exiled to Australia by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Britt Hancock, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and his assistant Beadle Bamford (Brett Mutter, A Sanders Family Christmas). Fifteen years later, after being rescued at sea by the young sailor Anthony Hope (Blake Graham, Sleepy Hollow), Todd has returned to London hoping to be reunited with his wife and daughter. But when he arrives at his former home - now owned by Mrs. Lovett (Weslie Webster, The Mousetrap), a widow who runs a failing meat pie shop on the bottom floor. Subsequently, he learns that his wife poisoned herself and his daughter Johanna (Harli Cooper, Legally Blonde) is now the ward of the very judge who sent him away.

Lovett recognizes Todd and allows him to reopen his barbershop upstairs. Todd and Lovett soon realize they have mutually profitable needs: his, a compulsion to seek revenge on those who wronged him and hers, a demand for cheap fresh meat. Complications arise when romance blossoms between Anthony and Todd's estranged daughter, and the plot thickens even further as Todd faces a blackmail scheme from rival barber Pirelli (Daniel Black, Million Dollar Quartet), along with increasing suspicion from Lovett's assistant Tobias (Ross Griffin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and a neighborhood Beggar Woman (Lauren Marshall, Legally Blonde).

Will his collaboration with Mrs. Lovett succeed, or will their toothsome plot come at too high a price?

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a macabre musical masterpiece with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, based on the 1973 play by Christopher Bond. The Tony® Award-winning score is peppered with darker themes like the chilling "No Place Like London," as well as the wickedly funny tunes, "The Worst Pies in London" and "A Little Priest." The show's musical director is Ron Murphy and the choreographer is Ashley Gentry (The Hunchback of Notre Dame).

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street runs September 14 through October 26. Tickets may be reserved by calling (931) 484-5000 or by visiting Currently at the Playhouse: Boeing Boeing in the Adventure Theater through October 4.

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis