Open Auditions Happening End of May For Sweeny Todd

stage lights

Shot in the Dark Productions and Sault Theatre Workshop are pleased to announce open auditions for an upcoming joint venture in musical theatre. The two local theatre companies will collaborate on a fall production of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winnng musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” 

Auditions will be held at 121 Pittsburgh Avenue (the site of Sault Theatre Workshop’s performance space) and actors of all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to attend. Two audition dates will be offered to accommodate those with weekend or week day commitments.The audition times are 2:00 PM on Sunday May 26, and 6:00 PM on Tuesday May 28. 

This marks the second co-production between these two local theatre companies. “Matilda,” based on the Roald Dahl classic, was staged at the venue in 2019.

“Sweeney Todd” will be performed at the end of October 2024, the week of Halloween. Running October 29th to November 3rd, the musical is a perfect fit for the haunted holiday season. Ticket sales will be announced shortly. 

Anthony Aceti will direct and be assisted by Ted McKinney. Vicky Brienesse will stage manage and Terri Miller will produce. Patty Gartshore, renowned local musician and the conductor of the Chamber Singers of Algoma, is on board to coach the choral singing.

Auditions will begin with solo vocal performances, and actors will learn material from the show, including some movement work. Those interested should prepare a 16-bar excerpt of a song that showcases their range and vocal abilities (a verse or chorus is about the right length). Initial auditions may be performed a cappella or with track or sheet music. If performing a vocal selection that isn’t from “Sweeney Todd,” and piano backing is requested, a printed copy for the accompanist would be appreciated. It will be advantageous though not necessary to perform excerpts from the show, or, at the very least, something in the musical style of the production. 

The plot of the infamous Stephen Sondheim musical is set in the 19th century and concerns a barber seeking justice after being imprisoned and exiled by a covetous judge. Returning to London after many years, he assumes a new identity and, finding that his family has been taken from him forever, begins to hatch a scheme to make it right. Teaming up with a down-on-her-luck pie proprietress, a roaring and rollicking rampage of revenge follows in a series of shocking and unforgettable ways. 

“Sweeney Todd” blends equal parts comedy, thriller, romance, horror, and revenge tragedy to tell its tale. Largely sung-through with only short scenes of dialogue, the intricate and irresistible music conveys layers of meaning that have captivated audiences since its release in 1979. 

Casting will focus on lead roles and a large chorus of ensemble performers. Roles for lead performers include Sweeney Todd (the titular barber), Anthony Hope (a sailor), Judge Turpin (responsible for sending Sweeney Todd away), the Beadle (an official who is loyal to the judge), Aldolfo Pirello (a rival barber), Tobias Ragg (a young apprentice), Mrs. Lovett (an entrepreneur who holds many secrets), Johanna (Todd’s long-lost daughter), and the Beggar Woman (one of the many impoverished people seeking safety in the streets of Victorian London). The ensemble will play many roles including that of Greek chorus, townspeople, police officers, asylum patients and workers, and, of course, customers. 

“Sweeney Todd” will kick off the 76th Season for Sault Theatre Workshop, the longest running performing arts venture in Sault Ste. Marie. Harry Houston, president of the organization, is pleased to see a musical returning to the workshop, and promises a strong season all around. 

Producing “Sweeney Todd” will be an “ambitious but rewarding” experience, promises director Anthony Aceti. Having taken a break from community theatre projects, he returned to the stage to direct a successful run of “Fiddler on the Roof” for the Musical Comedy Guild in 2023. 

Questions about the auditions can be directed to shotinthedarkssm@gmail. com

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