Judy Kaye will star as Mrs. Lovett and Len Cariou will recreate his Broadway role of the demon barber of Fleet Street in two benefit concerts of Sweeney Todd, to be held at London's Royal Festival Hall, Feb. 13. Davis Gaines, the tenor known for playing more than 2,000 performances as the romantic and menacing lead in The Phantom of the Opera in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, will play Anthony Hope.
The event was initially planned as a single 8 PM concert, but ticket demand merited the addition of a 4 PM concert as well.
Kaye's agent, Bret Adams, told Playbill On-Line she, like Cariou, is a Sweeney, veteran, having played the pie shop owner at Michigan Opera and NJ's Paper Mill Playhouse. Kaye's other credits include playing Emma Goldman in Ragtime. Cariou's Broadway credits also include Teddy and Alice and Dance a Little Closer. Gaines' latest CD, "All My Tomorrows," was released Dec. 3.
Sweeney, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's operatic classic of 1979, is based on Christopher Bond's potboiler play about a barber taking revenge on hypocrites and corrupt judges by helping bake "the worst pies in London..." The Sweeney benefit concert is being produced by Doug Mayo and directed by Paul Kerryson, artistic director of the Leicester Haymarket Theatre. A 40-piece orchestra and 50-voice choir are promised.
According to producer Mayo, the show will benefit Crusaid, "the UK's major HIV/AIDS charity." Tickets are available by calling 011-44-171 960 4242. -- By David Lefkowitz