The Muny's production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street plays the St. Louis venue July 16–22.
Rob Ruggiero directs with associate direction and musical staging by Jessica Hartman, music direction by James Moore, and associate musical direction by Michael Horsley.
The company is led by Ben Davis as Sweeney Todd, Carmen Cusack as Mrs. Lovett, Robert Cuccioli as Judge Turpin, Jake Boyd as Anthony Hope, Lincoln Clauss as Tobias Ragg, Stephen Wallem as Beadle, Julie Hanson as Beggar Woman, Riley Noland as Johanna, and Hernando Umana as Pirelli.
Ensemble members include Lee H. Alexander, Nick Berninger, Leah Berry, Patrick Blindauer, Brandon S. Chu, Rheaume Crenshaw, Steve Czarnecki, J.D. Daw, Delaney Guyer, Michelle Beth Herman, Omega Jones, Beth Kirkpatrick, Debby Lennon, Jonelle Margallo, Jacqueline Petroccia, Tim Quartier, Grant James Reynolds, Liz Shivener, Nicklaus Smith, Cecilia Snow, Veronica Stern, April Strelinger, Price Waldman, and Andy Zapata, who are joined by the Muny Kid and Teen youth ensembles.
"It seems that there has been a long date with destiny between The Muny and Sweeney Todd,” said Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson in an earlier statement. “Since my first season in 2012, it has been the show I’ve been asked about most. The passion for Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Wheeler’s musical masterpiece is real. Like everyone else, I can’t wait to ‘Attend the Tale.'"
The production also has scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by John Lasiter, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Caite Hevner, and wig design by Ashley Rae Callahan. The production stage manager is Nancy Uffner.
Considered one of the late Sondheim's masterpieces, Sweeney Todd premiered at Broadway's Uris (now Gershwin) Theatre February 6, 1979, with a cast led by Len Cariou (Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), who both nabbed Tony Awards for their roles. Harold Prince directed the production, which was awarded the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. A 1989 revival at Circle in the Square Theatre featured Beauty and the Beast's Beth Fowler as Mrs. Lovett and former Evita star Bob Gunton as the man who returns to London to avenge the death of his wife.
A 2000 concert presentation of the musical, directed by Lonny Price and led by Tony winners George Hearn and Patti LuPone, further confirmed the strength of Sondheim's score, which boasts such tunes as "The Worst Pies in London," "Johanna," "Pretty Women," "A Little Priest," "By the Sea," and "Not While I'm Around." Another major production of the Sondheim-Wheeler work, which is based on a version of Sweeney Todd by Christopher Bond, was the 2002 Kennedy Center mounting, which starred Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski.
Michael Cerveris and LuPone starred in a 2005 Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, which was directed by Tony winner John Doyle. The 2007 film version starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, while the immersive Off-Broadway production at the Barrow Street opened in 2017 co-starring London actors Jeremy Secomb and Siobhán McCarthy. Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello later stepped into that production.