Students to present musical thriller ‘Sweeney Todd’

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On February 17, 2009

Missouri S&T’s Miner League Theatre Players will present the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” this spring.


Guest victim Dr. Ron Bieniek and Christopher Helmig as Sweeney Todd. Photo by B.A. Rupert


Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, through Saturday, March 7, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, in Leach Theatre of Castleman Hall.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students age 16 and older. The show contains adult situations and language and is not suitable for children under age 16. Tickets are available between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before each performance in the Leach Theatre Box Office, located in Castleman Hall.

The Tony Award-winning musical thriller is based on the play “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” by Christopher Bond. The music and lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim and the story was adapted by Hugh Wheeler.
“The students wanted to do this play – they loved the movie and were ready to be challenged,” says director Jeanne Stanley, assistant professor of theatre at S&T. Stanley says the students wanted something that would be contemporary and attract more students to the performances. “We’ve always had a great response from the area community and hope that will continue, too.”

Stanley acknowledges the choice was risky, and that it has posed some challenges. A difficult musical score that was more operatic than anticipated has required considerable collaboration with performing arts faculty Dr. Robert “Bob” J. Cesario, director of bands and orchestras, and Lorie Francis, choir director. “Lorie, Bob and I have different styles that complement each other very well,” says Stanley. “This has helped the actors, orchestra and choir pull together.”
Another challenge was the complicated set the production requires. “All of the students involved have put time in on building the set,” says Stanley. “Everyone is in love with this project, so they’ve been willing to assume additional roles.”
Although the plot involves a sinister theme, which includes the offing of some special “guest victims” from the S&T faculty and the Rolla community, this version of “Sweeney Todd” is much less ominous and violent than the movie version. “Ours is more of a morality tale. We focus on how things can get out of hand when you can’t let go of the past,” says Stanley. “We also include some great comedic moments that were not used in the movie.”

Additional information about the performance is available online at

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On February 17, 2009. Posted in Events, Top Headlines