"God, That's Good!" Sweeney Todd - Prog Metal Version Will Be Orchestrated by The Fleet Street Collective

By Carey Purcell
24 Jun 2014

The first rock orchestration of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Toddpresented at Washington D.C.'s Warehouse Theatre by Landless Theatre Company, is being written by a team of arrangers known as The Fleet Street Collective.



Sweeney Todd - Prog Metal Version will begin performances Aug. 7 and continue through Aug. 31 as part of Landless Theatre's "Summer of Rock."

The seven members of The Fleet Street Collective are DC-based metal musicians Lance LaRue, Ray Shaw and Alex Vallejo; Philadelphia-based world musician Spencer Blevins; UK composer and recent NYU musical theatre writing program graduate Andrew Siddle; LTC’s artistic director Andrew L. Baughman; and Charles W. Johnson, who serves as music supervisor and music director for the production.

"We took a long time exploring all of the options," director Melissa Baughman said in a statement. "In the end, we followed the advice of our friend Richard Campbell [Composer of Richard Campbell’s Frankenstein, LTC’s 2013 prog metal opera production], who suggested we might do best to draw upon the chemistry and talent of the musicians we brought together to perform the intricate Frankenstein score. It turned out to be a wise decision, because not only will they be playing Sweeney, they also know how to write to each others' strengths in performance."

"Our goal is to take Mr Sondheim’s work and simply inject it into the prog-metal idiom," added LaRue. "We’ve managed to preserve nearly every lyric and melody as originally written while 'progging' the orchestration. Sondheim fanatics will find it extremely familiar while the Prog-heads will feel right at home with the chunky 7-string guitar, double-kick drums and extended-range bass lines."

The Washington, D.C., theatre company, which is known for producing camp and satirical theatre, has also featured rock theatre in its lineup. They previously presented Richard Campbell's Frankenstein, a prog-metal opera fusion including company artists and local metal musicians.

Sondheim's musical about a murderous barber premiered on Broadway in 1979, receiving the Tony Award for Best Musical. It has since been revived on Broadway twice and adapted into a musical motion picture. The musical has a book by Hugh Wheeler.

The cast of Sweeney Todd - Prog Metal Version will be announced at a later date.

Warehouse Theatre is located at 645 New York Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C. Tickets can be purchased by visiting vendini.com. Visit landlesstheatre.com for more information.