By Andrew Gans
16 Sep 2003
Pitre will play the pie-baking Mrs. Lovett in the Calgary Opera Company's production of the famed Stephen Sondheim musical Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2004. Baritone John Fanning will star opposite Pitre in the title role. Others in the cast include Jennie Such as Johanna, Joseph Kaiser as Anthony Hope, Michel Corbeil as Tobias Ragg, Mark Pedrotti as Judge Turpin, John MacMaster as The Beadle, Jean Stillwell as the Beggar Woman and Benoit Boutet as Pirelli. Kelly Robinson, who directed the world premiere of Filumena, will helm the production; Jeffrey Huard will conduct the orchestra.
Considered one of Stephen 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.
One of the more recent major productions 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."
For her performance as Donna in the Canadian, Broadway and touring companies of Mamma Mia!, Louise Pitre received the Dora Mavor Moore Award, the San Francisco Critics Circle Award, the U.S. National Broadway Award as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Her numerous theatrical credits include roles in Piaf; Les Misérables; The World Goes 'Round; I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change; Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Pitre’s solo recordings are titled "Songs My Mother Taught Me" and "All of My Life Has Led to This." The singer actress will leave the Broadway company of Mamma Mia! Oct. 19.