It’s a tale of revenge and rage, and it’s playing at the Blank Canvas Theatre now through March 10, 2018. One of Stephen Sondheim’s darkest pieces, SWEENEY TODD – THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET is stalking the streets of Cleveland, sure to deviously delight audiences.
The cast of 17 souls is lead by director Jonathan Kronenberger and musical director Matt Dolan, with assistant music direction by Bradley Wyner.
Rated “R” for all of the gore, the story follows the bloody journey of the psychopath Sweeney Todd, a man who was forced out of London years before. He returns now to his city to seek revenge on the man that ruined his life and took away everything he loved. Along the way, Todd enlists the help of his sailor friend Anthony, and pie shop maven Mrs. Lovett. But as in all good thrillers, the twists and turns of this seemingly-simple setup soon grind the story into a meaty mess.
Not long before the opening night curtain of Blank Canvas’ SWEENEY TODD, Patrick Ciamacco (Sweeney Todd) and Trinidad Snider (Mrs. Lovett) answered some questions via email about their piping hot production.
Kate Klotzbach: Is this your first time personally doing SWEENEY?
Trinidad Snider: Yes!
Patrick Ciamacco: I was in the show around 15 years ago but at that time I played Anthony Hope. The love struck sailor.
KK: What are some of the challenges and rewards of doing Sondheim? And about doing THIS Sondheim?
TS: Well the music is extremely challenging and difficult. This show in particular because in the same song you will literally switch time signatures, change one word from the previous lyric, and hold a note just a second longer all in the same song! It’s exciting and exhausting!
PC: It really keeps you on your toes. The challenge for me is that the music is so hard you really have to count and be as precise as possible. However, some of the stuff Sweeney does is crazed and out of his head, and it is hard to stay grounded musically while also going insane.
KK: Why did Blank Canvas choose SWEENEY?
TS: I believe it’s a project that both Patrick and Jonathan have wanted to do for sometime now. I was thrilled and honored just to be a part of it.
PC: It’s a show that I have been wanting to produce at Blank Canvas for some time. I know our audience was wanting to see it, and it will be so very different to anyone who sees it due to the intimate space.
KK: For you, what do you have in common with Mrs. Lovett / Sweeney Todd? How do you get in their heads?
TS: Mrs. Lovett is such a great character because there’s many levels to her. Ultimately I believe that she’s a little lonely and is just seeking love and a connection to someone. She feels that love for Sweeney Todd as a partner, but she also sees that in Tobias as a son, which is why I think at the end she’s extremely conflicted as to where her loyalty goes to.
PC: Well I am a romantic… and I really do think Sweeney is… or at least was. SWEENEY TODD (the musical) is really a love story. He loves his wife so very much that he is willing to do anything for her. Even if that means killing everyone in revenge.
KK: What was the toughest part of mounting this particular production?
TS: Everything! Especially since a production like this would normally rehearse for 8 weeks. We are tackling this material in 5.
PC: It is one of the biggest shows we have done in our smaller space. The script calls for so much with the set and scenes, and trying to pack that into our 16ft x 16ft stage was difficult. But I think it pays off in the fact that it will be the most intimate SWEENEY TODD most people will have ever seen!
KK: What is YOUR favorite kind of pie?
TS: Apple. Of course 🙂
PC: Apple pie!
KK: What are your tips for a good, close shave?!
TS: Lots and lots of conditioner. Or was this question for Patrick?!
PC: Some heated shaving cream and a nice SHARP blade!
SWEENEY TODD – THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET is playing Blank Canvas Theatre, located at 1305 West 80th Street, Suite 211, Cleveland, OH 44102. Tickets are $18.00 and can be purchased by visiting www.blankcanvastheatre.com.