Slice of Life: Judy Kaye and Company Begin Sweeney Todd Pre-Tour SF Stint, Aug. 30

News   Slice of Life: Judy Kaye and Company Begin Sweeney Todd Pre-Tour SF Stint, Aug. 30
Judy Kaye and David Hess head the cast of the John Doyle staging of Sweeney Todd, which begins performances at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater Aug. 30.
Judy Kaye as Mrs. Lovett
Judy Kaye as Mrs. Lovett Photo by Bruce Glikas

Following this limited engagement at the California company's Geary Theatre — which opens Sept. 4 for a run through Sept. 30 — the cast will head off on a national tour launching from Boston's Colonial Theatre (Oct. 23-Nov. 4).

Fleet Street residents of Broadway's recent Sweeney revival, including Lauren Molina, Benjamin Magnuson, Diana DiMarzio and John Arbo reprise their roles as Johanna, Anthony, Beggar Woman and Jonas Fogg, respectively.

New to the cast are Keith Buterbaugh (as Judge Turpin), Benjamin Eakeley (The Beadle), Edmund Bagnell (Tobias) and Katrina Yaukey (Pirelli).

Kaye — who earned a Tony Award nomination for her recent turn in Souvenir — won a Tony for her work in The Phantom of the Opera. Other credits include Mamma Mia!, Ragtime and On The Twentieth Century. The actress filled in one week on Broadway in the Doyle staging while original star Patti LuPone was on vacation.

Hess — who served as standby on Broadway — assumes the lead role of Sweeney. Other credits include Annie Get Your Gun, Dessa Rose, Prodigal and Love in a Thirsty Land as well as the first national tour of Ragtime. *

The tour stops announced thus far follow:

  • Boston, MA: Colonial Theatre (Oct. 23-Nov. 4)
  • Toronto, ON: Princess of Wales Theatre (Nov. 6-Dec. 9)
  • Columbus, OH: Palace Theatre (Dec. 11-16)
  • Miami, FL: Carnival Center (Jan. 1-6, 2008)
  • Kansas City, MO: Music Hall (Jan. 8-13, 2008)
  • Greenville, SC: The Peace Center (Jan. 22-27, 2008)
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Heinz Hall (Jan. 29-Feb. 3, 2008)
  • Minneapolis, MN: State Theatre (Feb. 5-10, 2008)
  • Louisville, KY: Kentucky Center (Feb. 12-17, 2008)
  • Cincinnati, OH: Aronoff Center (Feb. 19-March 2, 2008)
  • Los Angeles, CA: Ahmanson Theatre (March 11-April 6, 2008)
  • Portland, OR: Keller Auditorium (April 8-13, 2008)
  • Tempe, AZ: ASU Gammage Auditorium (April 15-20, 2008)
  • St. Petersburg, FL: Mahaffey Theater (May 6-11, 2008)
  • West Palm Beach, FL: Kravis Center (May 13-18, 2008)
  • Atlanta, GA: Fox Theater (May 27-June 1, 2008)
  • Houston, TX: Hobby Center (June 3-15, 2008) For more information visit the official website at

    The national tour is produced by Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Ambassador Theatre Group, Adam Kenwright, Tulchin/Barnter/Bagert and Live Nation.

    The Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd — starring Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris (as Sweeney Todd) and Patti LuPone (as Mrs. Lovett) — began previews at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Oct. 3, 2005, and officially opened Nov. 3. When it closed Sept. 3, 2006, the musical had played a total of 349 performances and 35 previews. Director Doyle as well as orchestrator Sarah Travis took home 2006 Tony Awards for their work.

    This new conceptual take on the tale of the vengeful barber is placed in the confines of an asylum where a distraught Tobias Ragg is imprisoned. Using only nine chairs, a ladder and a coffin on two wooden horses, on a stage assembled of wooden planks, ten actor-musicians re-create the characters and events of Victorian-era Fleet Street.

    The Sondheim score (with the book by Hugh Wheeler from a Christopher Bond adaptation) is performed (in full view of the audience) by the acting company, who play instruments ranging from tuba, trumpet and clarinet to cello, accordion and bass.


    The musical is a hot commodity as of late: Tim Burton is at work on the feature film adaptation of the story with Johnny Depp in the title role and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. The film — slated for a December release — also features Alan Rickman (Private Lives, the "Harry Potter" films) as Judge Turpin, Timothy Spall ("Harry Potter") as Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat," "Talladega Nights") as Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

    Rounding out the cast are Laura Michelle Kelly (Fiddler on the Roof) as the Beggar Woman, Jamie Campbell Bowen as Anthony, Jayne Wisener as Johanna and newcomer Ed Sanders as Toby. "All the stars will do their own singing from Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics," according to an announcement.

  • The Broadway cast of <i>Sweeney Todd</i>.
    The Broadway cast of Sweeney Todd. Photo by Paul Kolnik
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