Sweeney Todd
October 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 2007

Anthony HopeJoel Dommel
Sweeney ToddRody Gilkeson
Beggar WomanLori Sivick
Mrs. LovettCarole Silvoy
JohannaKatie Wexler
Judge TurpinMatthew Walczer
Beadle BamfordJohn Monahan
Tobias RaggJames Stabp
PirelliVic Kumma
Jonas FoggMichael Pesavento
Wendy Borst
Alan Shannon-Breslin
Cheryl Burke
Kristin Johnson
Joanne Kelhart
Rebecca Knappenberger
Hal Miers
Kayla Mormak
Keith Moser
Rob Riker
Danielle Sanders
Lisa Suppan
Alicia Varcoe
Stephanie Wain
Production Staff
Book DirectorChip Rohrbach
Music DirectorsButch DiMinico and Nancy Shumaker
Stage ManagerTerri Yankus
Costume DesignerPamela Dillenbeck
Set DesignChip Rohrbach
Set Construction/PaintingTom and Pam Steigerwalt
Set Construction AssistantScott Diehl
Scenic ArtistRon Glass
Lighting DesignDan Lewis
Pit CoordinatorTom Mondschein
Production ChairVicki Montesano
Public Relations & Publicity ChairCheryl Wenhold
Production PhotosRalph Montesano
Front of HouseNancy Homlish
Box OfficePaulette Moyer and Walter Schubert
2007 Ad ProgramMaggie Haney-O'Leary
Poster Graphic/Program Cover ArtD. Scott Lyttle

Cast Photos
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Other Images


This 'Sweeney Todd' is a cut above

By Dave Howell
Special to The Morning Call

October 10, 2007

''Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street'' is not an upbeat musical. Stephen Sondheim picked the most unlikely subject he could find -- a 19th-century barber who slits the throats of his customers and lets his lover use the blood to flavor her meat pies.

Because of its complexity, the musical is not often presented in the Lehigh Valley. But this is your chance to see a razor sharp production that is a cut above.

Sweeney Todd (Rody Gilkeson) has reason to be bitter. He has returned to London 15 years after being unjustly forced to leave by Judge Turpin (Matthew Walezer) and the judge's assistant Beadle Bamford (John T. Monahan). He encounters Mrs. Lovett (Carole Silvoy), who tells him that his wife has died and his daughter Johanna (Katie Wexler) is a ward of the judge.

The plot has Todd gradually led into serial killing. He first slits the throat of a blackmailer (Vic Kumma). Then, after losing the chance to dispatch the judge at the last minute, he decides to take revenge on the world.

A subplot has sailor Anthony Hope (Joel Dommel) falling in love with Johanna and attempting to rescue her from the amorous attentions of the judge. This brightens things up a little, along with a few other comic bits. One black example is a duet between Todd and Mrs. Lovett describing different meat pie fillings (sailors are a bit salty, politicians are oily, and so on).

The show is three hours long. The action unfolds slowly at the beginning, building motivation for Todd's descent into murder. But the drama intensifies in the second act to make you as edgy as one of the one-time-only clients.

There are a number of dramatic solos and duets, and harmonic singing by characters from opposite sides of the stage. Throughout all of it, there is not a wrong note by the cast of 25, backed by three keyboards, a flute and a bass guitar.

Among the many highlights are James Stabp (as Tobias Ragg) and Monahan reaching wonderfully high notes, and the emotional singing of Lori Sivick as the Beggar Woman. Gilkeson plays a diffident but sympathetic Sweeney Todd. Silvoy is perfect with her downscale English accent, and amorality hidden by a practical and fatalistic outlook.

The only quibbles are a few points where Sondheim's complex lyrics cannot be understood, and sometimes the background musicians are too loud for the singers.

The staging is fittingly somber, and cleverly done to keep the action at the front of the stage. The best features are the flashing red lights as Todd dispatches his victims, and the barber chair which slides the customers down a chute to Mrs. Lovett's factory.

''Sweeney Todd,'' 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Oct. 21, Pennsylvania Playhouse, Illick's Mill Road, Bethlehem. Tickets: $18; $15, seniors and students Fridays and Sundays only. 610-865-6665, http://www.paplayhouse.org .

Dave Howell is a freelance writer.

Jodi Duckett, Arts and Entertainment Editor



Copyright © 2007, The Morning Call


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