"Sweeney Todd" Is Great (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

I saw the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company production of the Sondheim classic on Saturday.


"Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd"  It's the opening line from the show and it's a pretty good piece of advice.   The cast is superb, the set is wonderful and the music...well the music is Sondheim. 

You don't have to go to Denver for a great evening of theatre, just go to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.  This may be the most entertaining story of serial killings you're likely to see.  It may be the only entertaining story of serial killings you're likely to see.  It's a story of bloody revenge and multiple murders that somehow manages to maintain a sense of humor.  It would be too much if it didn't. 

I got a backstage tour after the show too see the maze of stairs and doors and platforms on which these actors tell their tale.  It's remarkable what's been done to the Fine Arts Center stage.  Director Alan Osburn has certainly made the most of every square foot available...and some square footage that wasn't.  There are some well-conceived effects here and there too.  This show is evidence that lighting can be dark.

There are strong singers in every lead role, working their way through a physically and vocally demanding piece. The ensemble acts as a Greek Chorus at times, commenting on the action, advancing the story, then becoming part of the scene.  (Again full disclosure, my sister Jen is part of the ensemble...but I'd like it just as much even if she wasn't)  If a cast isn't up to the challenge this piece could easily fall apart.  This cast is.  

Here's a youtube link sent to me by the Assistant Director so you can see a scene or two.  See my previous blog entry for an interview with a couple of the stars. 


In the end the body count is Shakespearean (think "Hamlet" - final scene) but without being too morbid. The cast is bloodied and battered but ready to hit the stage again...Thursdays- Sundays through February 14th. 

Here's a link for tickets, so you can "Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd."


We'll talk again soon.


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