Geva's Sweeney Todd to Feature Tewksbury, Sanders, McGowan and More

News   Geva's Sweeney Todd to Feature Tewksbury, Sanders, McGowan and More Complete casting has been announced for the Geva Theatre Center's 30th anniversary production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd, which will begin performances at the Rochester, NY, venue Feb. 18.
Stephen Tewksbury
Stephen Tewksbury

Directed by Mark Cuddy, the award-winning musical will play Geva's Mainstage through March 29.

The cast will feature Stephen Tewksbury (Broadway's Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera) in the title role and Kristie Dale Sanders (Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera, Urinetown) as Mrs. Lovett with James Van Treuren as Judge Turpin, Roland Rusinek as Beadle Bamford, Marissa McGowan as Johanna, Daniel Bogart as Anthony, Brad Weinstock as Tobias, Leslie Becker as the Beggar Woman, Ron DeStefano as Pirelli and Don Mayo as Jonas Fogg.

The ensemble will comprise Sharon Bayer, William Thomas Evans, Sean Patrick Jernigan, Pegah Kadkhodaian, Beth Kirkpatrick, Jay Lusteck, Teri Madonna, Jason Mincer, Weston Wells Olson, Hallie Silverston and Christina Wagenet.

"In 19th century London," press notes state, "master barber Benjamin Barker was arrested and sent into exile on false pretences: so that the evil Judge Turpin could have his way with Barker's wife. When Barker returns to London years later as Sweeney Todd, he vows to take his revenge."

Considered one of Sondheim's masterpieces, 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. Another major production of the Stephen 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." Michael Cerveris and LuPone starred in the most recent Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, which was directed by Tony winner John Doyle. The film version starred Johnny Depp.

The creative team also includes Don Kot (music direction), Adam Koch (scenic design), Devon Painter (costume design), Robert Wiertzel (lighting design) and Brian Jerome Peterson (sound design).

Tickets, priced $26-$63, are available by calling (585) 232-4382 or by visiting www.gevatheatre.org. Geva Theatre Center is located at 75 Woodbury Blvd. in Rochester, NY.