Napa, CA- From the brilliant mind of Stephen Sondheim springs the twisted story of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Directed by Jennifer King with music direction by Dr. Eve-Anne Wilkes and choreography by Pamela Rogers, this sweeping production from Napa Valley Conservatory Theater/Music Napa Valley at Napa Valley College stands to be the theater event of the season.
Hilarious and passionate, this soaring musical tells the tale of the wronged Sweeney. Stripped of family, rights and dignity,
the barber discovers a taste for revenge, and joining with his neighbor, the pie-baking Mrs. Lovett, the two form the perfect business partnership: He slices and she dices.
The murderous melodrama is based on a centuries-old tale that has been retold in many formats: play, screenplay, musical, radio show, novel and “penny-dreadfuls,” lurid stories published in parts as a series, each copy costing the reader a penny. Sondheim’s musical play, while maintaining the melodrama of the original story, lifts it to a grand new level with a musical score that many believe to be the pinnacle of Sondheim’s career.
“The music in Sweeney is challenging in its complexity and scope and our Main Theater in the new Performing Arts Center is the perfect venue in which to experience it,” says Music Director, Dr. Eve-Anne Wilkes.
The title character of Sweeney Todd is played by Michael Bulatao, who Napa audiences will remember for his rich baritone and stunning portrayal of Don Quixote in the facility’s inaugural show, Man of La Mancha. Playing opposite Bulatao as the enterprising Mrs. Lovett is soprano Suzi Gilbert. Gilbert has performed with diverse music ensembles internationally and locally, and has released two CDs, A Christmas Collection and Spice of Life.
Todd’s nemesis, Judge Turpin, is played by Tim Setzer (ART, Man of La Mancha, Gypsy).
The set for Sweeney Todd, designed by Nina Ball and constructed by Michael Barney and his crew at Napa Valley College, is a towering structure of wood and steel with sliding staircases and disappearing locales. It is a sweeping set, filling the huge stage with multiple levels and entrances.
"The non-literal set, plus the lighting design by Heather Basarab, provide a stunning backdrop for this haunting story and Sondheim's brilliant music," says director Jennifer King.
Adding to the sense of a vast web of architecture is the design choice to forgo any backdrop and allow the audience to see all the way to the back of the stage, viewing the inner workings of the stage itself. It is a spectacular sight. The extravagant costumes designed by Skipper Skeoch, more than forty-five in all, transport the actors and audience from 21st century America to mid-nineteenth century London.
Sweeney Todd plays in the Main Theater at Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center on April 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8pm and April 15 and 22 at 2pm. The center is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Hwy. in Napa. Tickets are $25 general, $20 stu/sen/mil. Special Ticket Offer: Thursday night 4-Pack! Buy four tickets for only $70. For tickets and information, call 707-256-7500 or purchase online at www.napavalleytheater.org
In a Nutshell
Who: Napa Valley Conservatory Theater at Napa Valley College
What: Sweeney Todd
Where: Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center, 2277 Napa-Vallejo Hwy., Napa
When: April 12-22
Ticket Prices: $25 general, $20 stu/sen/mil. Special Ticket Offer: Thursday night 4-Pack! Buy four tickets for only $70.
For Tickets: Box Office 707-256-7500 or online www.napavalleytheater.org