Nolen to Play Title Role in New York City Opera's Sweeney Todd

News   Nolen to Play Title Role in New York City Opera's Sweeney Todd
Timothy Nolen, who has a long association with Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, will play the title role in several performances of the upcoming New York City Opera production of the landmark musical.

Nolen's agent confirmed that the baritone will star in the production, which is double-cast and will play the New York City Opera in March. Nolen will play the knife-wielding Sweeney March 5, 6 (evening), 10, 13 (matinee), 20 (matinee) and 27. As previously reported, West End star Elaine Paige is scheduled to play the pie-baking Mrs. Lovett. A spokesperson for New York City Opera would not confirm any casting at this time.

Timothy Nolen regularly moves between the worlds of opera and Broadway. He made his Broadway debut in Grind and also appeared in The Phantom of the Opera and Cyrano—The Musical. His numerous opera credits include Die Meistersinger, Merry Widow, Die Zauberflote and La Pietra del Paraírone. Nolen has also portrayed Judge Turpin, a signature role for the actor, in several Sweeney Todd productions, including the Patti LuPone-George Hearn concert version, which was broadcast on television.

Sweeney will play New York City Opera March 5-28. Eugene Lee will design the sets, with costumes by Franne Lee, original choreography by Larry Fuller, lighting design by Ken Billington and sound design Abe Jacob.

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.

A recent major production 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."

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