BWW Previews: THE MARCIA P. HOFFMAN SCHOOL OF THE ARTS' SWEENEY TODD Takes A Ghostly Turn at Ruth Eckerd Hall

BWW Previews: THE MARCIA P. HOFFMAN SCHOOL OF THE ARTS' SWEENEY TODD Takes A Ghostly Turn at Ruth Eckerd Hall
Photo by Erin Null

A large cast of 43 students, ages 11-18 from The Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts will bring the school edition of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a tale of love and revenge to stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall on July 26-28.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, explores the infamous story of Benjamin Barker (Sweeney Todd), a London barber with a disturbing partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett.

Under the masterful direction of Jack Holloway, Sean Cunningham, Bailey Walman, Stephany Levi, Caitlin Ostrowski, Julia LaPierre, Chris Cavazza, Katie Davis, Jacob Ramirez, Cristian Torres, Eva Campuzano, Seaira Anderson, Connor Buffa, Marco Camuzzi, Dior Dollmont, Graham Mastro, Jonah Mastro, Colleen McManamon, Shaun Memmel, Marissa Milam, Kiana Sipe, Shelby Lennox, Christina Karalis, Cameron Swango, Nevaeh Babb, Rebecca Bandy, Haylie Brito, Lily Crocamo, Zakerry Englert, Bella Harvey, Chloe Hack, Peyton Kressevich, Stephanos Logan, Emma Lotti, Lindsey McNeave, Dorian Perez, Nicole Sklaver, Kyndall Small, Rachel Sprague, Taylor Vernon, and Reilly Wolf have been rehearsing seven hours each day since the beginning of July.

"It's truly a blessing to be performing with such this group of kids with such kind hearts and amazing talent," said Bailey Walman who plays Sweeney Todd. "Sweeney is broken and will do whatever he has to feel whole again. I think the theme of the show is hope.

We are blessed to give the audience the opportunity to go through this experience together. It's amazing to sit there and be enthralled by the music or the acting - any way you are impacted is a beautiful thing. To give people joy - I think that's really what we need in our world today."

Jack pushed to find his own version of Sweeney Todd - something unique to add to the story.

"We have a really interesting choral aspect to the show," he explained. "We have group of 10 of Sweeney's ghostly victims. We bring the audience into the theatre and tell a campfire ghost story about revenge gone wrong."

With implied violence, but no blood, the show relies in lighting and sound to bring life to the more sinister scenes.

"It's more Hitchcock than Tarantino," said Jack. "This story is so grand in nature - it's a love story, a story of revenge and obsession. There's deep tragedy, but also ridiculous hilarious moments. I want the audience to leave the show just drained, thinking that was a cathartic roller coaster ride. It's not too scary, but there are some startles. It's definitely a fun ride. I'd love the audience to leave laughing and tired, like they just came out a haunted house."

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is July 26 and 27 at 8pm, and July 28 at 2pm and 7pm at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students/military will be available at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Ticket Box Office, by calling 727.791.7400, or online at

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From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley

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