Hope College Theatre will present “Sweeney Todd” on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, and Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 14-17, at 8 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is set in 19th-century London and tells the tale of a famously barbaric barber. Throughout the musical, the character of Sweeney Todd seeks revenge on the judge who both framed him and destroyed his family. He spreads his desire for vengeance throughout the city, one bloody shave after another. The piece features complex melody lines and striking choral compositions. Winner of eight Tony Awards during its original run, “Sweeney Todd” is one of Sondheim’s most well-known works.
“Sweeney Todd is a massive undertaking to produce,” said guest director Curt Tofteland, who is founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars, Equity actor, and former Producing Artistic Director of Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. “To bring this seminal work of Stephen Sondheim to life on Hope College’s theatre stage, I am thankful to be working with a talented group of artists, many of whom are new to Hope College Theatre productions.”
In addition to Tofteland, the production team includes a mix of members of the Hope community as well as guest artists. Music direction and soloist vocal coach is area artist Joseph Byrd. Brad Richmond, professor of music and director of choral activities is choral director. Gabe Southard, assistant professor of music and director of bands, is the orchestra conductor. Grand Rapids artist Kyle Dutkiewicz is the choreographer. Costume design is by Michelle Bombe, resident costume designer and professor of theatre. Perry Landes, associate professor of theatre, is the stage manager. Sarah Watkins, a 2008 Hope graduate and MFA recipient from Northwestern University, is the scenic and props designer. Lighting design is by fellow Northwestern MFA graduate Rebecca Jeffords. Rounding out the design team is another Hope College alumnus, 2010 graduate Ken Chamberlain as sound designer.
Joining the faculty and special guests are sophomore Mary Elizabeth Winther of Canton as makeup designer and junior Angelica Kurtz of Streamwood, Ill., as assistant costume designer.
Assistant stage managers are sophomore Jackie Marschke of Glenview, Ill.; sophomore Emily Svendson of Crystal Lake, Ill.; and sophomore Mychael Overton of Springfield, Ill. Freshman Emilie Bickel of Denver, Colo., is the assistant to the director.
The cast includes Equity actor, 1990 Hope graduate and Hope Summer Repertory Theatre veteran Chip Duford in the title role of Sweeney Todd. Hope students in the cast include: senior Skyler Adams of Holland; freshman Kira Alsum of Grand Rapids; senior Lydia Blickley of Grand Rapids; freshman Eliana Campbell of Barrington, Ill.; senior Kate Colburn of Holland; senior Kelsey Colburn of Holland; freshman Kenny Cole of Jenison; junior Alexa Duimstra of Appleton, Wis.; sophomore Jared Duimstra of Appleton, Wis.; senior Skye Edwards of Morrison, Colo.; sophomore Rebecca Flinker of Leeds, Mass.; freshman Emma Fondell of Wilmette, Ill.; junior Aaron Haecker of Winchester, Va.; sophomore John Haga of Rochester; junior Bradley Hamilton of Southfield; senior Haley Hodges of Hart, junior Angelica Kurtz of Streamwood, Ill.; sophomore Alexandra Leppek of Midland, sophomore Joshua McCammon of Ann Arbor; sophomore Bridget McCarthy of Grand Haven; freshman Mollie Murk of Huntley, Ill.; sophomore Olivia Passalino of Lake Forest, Ill.; freshman Jacob Poirier of Leland; freshman Nicholas Richardson of Ann Arbor; freshman Katie Ricks of Gibson City, Ill.; sophomore Jordan Sportel of Kalamazoo; senior Jesse Swatling-Holcomb of Alameda, Calif.; sophomore Ariel Vincent of River Forest, Ill.; senior Kevin Zetterholm of West Bloomfield; and freshman Theodora Zucker of Lake Orion.