ASHLAND — Music, mayhem and baked meat pies are part of the menu for “Sweeney Todd,” the Tony Award winning play that opens Aug. 29 at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland.
“Sweeney Todd” is the first full Stephen Sondheim musical to play at the Cabaret. It features two Cabaret favorites, with Galloway Stevens in the lead role and Valerie Rachelle as Mrs. Lovett.
The play revolves around Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, who returns to 19th Century London seeking vengeance on the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop whose fortunes rise when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up.
“Sweeney” includes more than 20 musical numbers by Sondheim, including “Johanna,” “A Little Priest,” “The Worst Pies in London” and “City on Fire.”
Stevens is well known to Southern Oregon audiences, having previously appeared in several productions, including “Cabaret,” “9 to 5,” “Chicago,” “Bat Boy,” “Rocky Horror,” “Noises Off,” “Million Dollar Quartet” and most recently “Sherlock Holmes and the Sign of the Four.” Rachelle, the Cabaret’s artistic director has taken the stage in “Bat Boy” and “Rocky Horror.” They’ll be joined by Cabaret veterans Jonathan Hoover, Nathan Monks, Kristen Calvin and Michael Spencer (“Once”). Making their Cabaret debut are Todd Neilsen, Molly Dobbs, and James Conrad Smith.
Michael Jenkinson, “Sweeney’s” director and choreographer, previous acted at the Cabaret in “Tis the Season” and “Route 66,” directed “The Daly News,” “9 to 5” and “The All Night Strut.” He has an extensive background in directing, choreography and acting in more than 50 productions nationwide.
“Sweeney Todd” contains graphic scenes of violence and murder and if it was a movie would be rated R.