Judy Kaye Will Mince Meatpies for Upcoming Sweeney Todd National Tour

News   Judy Kaye Will Mince Meatpies for Upcoming Sweeney Todd National Tour Judy Kaye — who performed a stint as Mrs. Lovett on Broadway — will head the cast of the national tour of John Doyle's staging of Sweeney Todd. David Hess has been cast in the title role.
Judy Kaye will star in the national tour of Sweeney Todd.
Judy Kaye will star in the national tour of Sweeney Todd. Photo by Bruce Glikas

The national tour will launch in Boston (Oct. 23-Nov. 4) at The Colonial Theatre following the previously announced limited engagement at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (Aug. 30-Sept. 30). Further casting will be announced shortly.

Kaye — who earned a Tony Award nomination for her recent turn in Souvenir — won a Tony for her work in The Phantom of the Opera. Other credits include Mamma Mia!, Ragtime and On The Twentieth Century. The actress filled in one week on Broadway in the Doyle staging while original star Patti LuPone was on vacation.

Hess — who served as standby on Broadway — will assume the lead role of Sweeney. Other credits include Annie Get Your Gun, Dessa Rose, Prodigal and Love in a Thirsty Land as well as the first national tour of Ragtime.

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The tour stops announced thus far (with more to follow) are:

  • Toronto, ON: Princess of Wales Theatre (November/December)
  • Columbus, OH: Palace Theatre (Dec. 11-16)
  • Miami, FL: Carnival Center for the Performing Arts (Jan. 1-6, 2008)
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Heinz Hall (Jan. 29-Feb. 3, 2008)
  • Minneapolis, MN: State Theatre (Feb. 5-10, 2008)
  • Louisville, KY: Kentucky Center (Feb. 12-17, 2008)
  • Cincinnati, OH: Aronoff Center for the Arts (Feb. 19-March 2, 2008)
  • Los Angeles, CA: Ahmanson Theatre (March 11-April 6, 2008)
  • Portland, OR: Keller Auditorium (April 8-13, 2008)
  • Tempe, AZ: ASU Gammage Auditorium (April 15-20, 2008)
  • St. Petersburg, FL: Mahaffey Theater (May 6-11, 2008)
  • Atlanta, GA: Fox Theater (May 27-June 1, 2008)
  • Houston, TX: Hobby Center (June 3-15, 2008) The national tour is being produced by Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Ambassador Theatre Group, Adam Kenwright, Tulchin/Barnter/Bagert and Live Nation.

    The Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd — starring Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris (as Sweeney Todd) and Patti LuPone (as Mrs. Lovett) — began previews at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Oct. 3, 2005, and officially opened Nov. 3. When it closed Sept. 3, 2006, the musical had played a total of 349 performances and 35 previews. Director Doyle as well as orchestrator Sarah Travis took home 2006 Tony Awards for their work.

    This new conceptual take on the tale of the vengeful barber is placed in the confines of an asylum where a distraught Tobias Ragg is imprisoned. Using only nine chairs, a ladder, and a coffin on two wooden horses, on a stage assembled of wooden planks, ten actor-musicians re-create the characters and events of Victorian-era Fleet Street.

    The Sondheim score (with the book by Hugh Wheeler from a Christopher Bond adaptation) is performed (in full view of the audience) by the acting company, who play instruments ranging from tuba, trumpet and clarinet to cello, accordion and bass.

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    The musical is a hot commodity as of late: Tim Burton is at work on the feature film adaptation of the story with Johnny Depp in the title role and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. The film — slated for a December release — also features Alan Rickman (Private Lives, the "Harry Potter" films) as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall ("Harry Potter") as Beadle Bamford, Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat," "Talladega Nights") as Signor Adolfo Pirelli and Christopher Lee ("The Lord of the Rings") in the role of "the gentleman ghost."

    Rounding out the cast are Laura Michelle Kelly (Fiddler on the Roof) as the Beggar Woman, Jamie Campbell Bowen as Anthony, Jayne Wisener as Johanna and newcomer Ed Sanders as Toby. "All the stars will do their own singing from Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics," according to an announcement.

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