Opening night is scheduled for Jan. 30, and performances will continue through Feb. 14.
The cast will be headed by Norman Large as Sweeney, Debbie Prutsman as Mrs. Lovett, Michelle Duffy as Beggar Woman, Dan Callaway as Anthony, Roland Rusinek as The Beadle, Jim Holdridge as Tobias, Richard Gould as Judge Turpin and Alan M-L Wager as Pirelli. The ensemble includes Travis Robertson, Richard Bermudez, Victor Hernandez, Zane Gerson, Jason Evans, Jeremy Bernard, Michael Skidgel, Christopher Van Etten, Bill Marty Johnson, Isaac James, Heather Lundstedt, Amy Gillette, Stephanie Burkett-Gerson, Jessica Bernard, Lois Bourgon and Rachel Ellen Green.
"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. Musical Theatre West performances are at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. Tickets range from $30-$80 and can be purchased through the MTW Box Office at (562) 856-1999, ext. 4 or online at www.musical.org.
Now in its 57th season, Musical Theatre West is under the leadership of Executive Director/Producer Paul Garman.