"Attend the Tale": Landless Theatre Company to Present Rock Version of Sweeney Todd
By Carey Purcell
Landless Theatre Company will present a prog-metal production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, the first rock orchestration of the musical.
Sweeney Todd - Prog Metal Version will be presented in August at Mount Vernon's Undercroft Theatre as part of Landless Theatre's "Summer of Rock."
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.
"Sweeney is a natural fit for prog-metal," Melissa Baughman, associate producing director and resident director, said in a statement. "Aside from the dark story of murder and revenge, the score is operatic and intricate."
Previous productions by Landless Theatre Company include Diamond Dead, a screen rock musical collaboration between "Night of the Living Dead" screenwriter George A. Romero and The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Richard Hartley, which won 2008 Best Musical Pick of the Capital Fringe and was a selected participant in the 2009 International Fringe Festival; and the Washington, D.C., premiere of Kyle Jarrow's absurdist art-rock President Harding Is A Rock Star.
"Sondheim is a genius, so this is big," producing artistic director Andrew L. Baughman said in a statement. "He's giving us an amazing opportunity to break new ground in both the theatre and music scenes.
"We hope to see this Prog Metal Version live on beyond our premiere production," Baughman added. "Expect a concert staging where the music is front and center… and yes, there will be blood."
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.
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