No opening date, casting or design team have been announced, but Michael Mayer will again direct, and rising stars Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff are expected to return as teens Wendla and Melchior, who are drawn to each other in a world where parents, ministers and teachers create an atmosphere of shame, silence and ignorance.
The score is by Sheik and book and lyrics are by Sater. Sheik has said in his blog that he's been working on a recording of songs from the show. A recording release, whether cast album or song sampler, would serve as a valuable marketing boost for the show, which would seem to have its eye on the same audience that has kept Rent in the black for a decade.
According to sources in the theatre community, Mayer's earlier concept of placing audience members on stage — flanking the action in hard-back wooden chair to help create a sense of a watchful community — is being explored for the O'Neill as well.
The musical is based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play, which was scandalous in its day for addressing sex, violence and suicide. This new musical version has two actors playing all the adult roles as an ensemble of young people strut, rant, wonder and wish — their characters search to understand the coming of age that they cannot avoid. Though the performers are dressed in costumes that suggest late 19th-century clothes, the sound is rock and pop — although fans are calling the sound alternative pop or alt rock.
Sweeney Todd ends its run at the O'Neill Sept. 3.