Buckley-Hensley Sweeney Todd Canceled

News   Buckley-Hensley Sweeney Todd Canceled
Playbill.com has learned that the previously announced production of Sweeney Todd in Odessa, Texas — starring Betty Buckley and Shuler Hensley — has been canceled.

Tony Award winners Buckley and Hensley had been scheduled to play, respectively, Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd, in the Stephen Sondheim musical under the direction of Tony Georges. The musical was to have played July 7-24 at the Ector Theatre.

Director Georges told Playbill.com, "We had tremendous difficulty living up to the riders of the contracts with various entities involved in the production. We felt that it would be better to pass on the project rather than to come short of the expectations of the people involved." Georges said another production will be presented in the place of Sweeney Todd, although the director was unable to announce the show at this time. "We do regret losing the project. [Sweeney Todd is] actually my personal favorite show, but to do this show in the circumstances that we found ourselves in would have been irresponsible."

A spokesperson for Hensley told Playbill.com, "Mr. Georges' difficulty in living up to the contracts had nothing to do with the artists themselves. There was nothing extraordinary in the written contract or out of the norm that would have caused any responsible presenter to cancel this production. I don't want it to appear that any of the artists involved caused the cancellation when Mr. Georges has stated in writing that the fault was all his."

Hensley, who won his Tony for his work in the Oklahoma! revival, will return to New York this summer in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which is scheduled to begin performances at Off-Broadway's Dodger Stages Aug. 20. And, Broadway favorite Buckley will bring her acclaimed evening of Smoke to the Ravinia Festival's “Martinis at the Martin” cabaret series Aug. 28 (4:30 PM) and 29 (8 PM).

The Ector season is also scheduled to include a production of Gypsy starring Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman as Momma Rose and Tony Award winner Daisy Eagan as Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy will run Aug. 11-28. For tickets or more information call (432) 337-9595.

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