Maryland's SunSpot.net reports that Lyng, who was also one of the original stars of Off-Broadway's long-running Forbidden Broadway, will play Mrs. Lovett in the Baltimore production, which runs Feb. 20-April 11. Lyng replaces Center Stage alum E. Faye Butler, who withdrew from the production to care for her ailing mother. Joseph Mahowald, of Broadway's Les Misérables and Jekyll & Hyde, will play the title role of the knife-wielding Sweeney. Irene Lewis directs.
Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd originally premiered at Broadway's Uris Theatre on Feb. 6, 1979, with a cast led by Len Cariou (Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), who both nabbed Tony Awards for their roles. Harold Prince directed the production, which was awarded the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. A 1989 revival at Circle in the Square Theatre featured Beauty and the Beast's Beth Fowler as Mrs. Lovett and former Evita star Bob Gunton as the man who returns to London to avenge the death of his wife.
A recent major production of the Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler work, which is based on a version of "Sweeney Todd" by Christopher Bond, was the Kennedy Center mounting, which starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski. A concert presentation of the musical, directed by Lonny Price and led by Tony winners George Hearn and Patti LuPone, confirmed the strength of Sondheim's score, which boasts such tunes as "The Worst Pies in London," "Johanna," "Pretty Women," "A Little Priest," "By the Sea" and "Not While I'm Around."
Nora Mae Lyng was a producer and member of the original company of Forbidden Broadway. She starred in the previous Broadway revival of Cabaret as well as the National Actors Theatre's production of Three Men on a Horse. Lyng's other stage credits include the Broadway companies ofLes Misérables and My Favorite Year as well as the national tour of Into the Woods.
Sweeney Todd will play Center Stage's Head Theater, 700 N. Calvert Street in Baltimore, MD. Tickets, priced $35-$60, are available by calling (410) 332-0033. For more information, visit www.toad.net/~centerstage.