The Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre, nationally known for its interpretation of Stephen Sondheim musicals, celebrated its 20th anniversary season by presenting Sondheim's most popular musical SWEENEY TODD, directed by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. The production will end its run in the 276-seat MAX Theater, April 4, 2010.
Recently made into a film with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd is Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece - a story of obsession and revenge, full of gothic gore, lush songs, and romantic melodrama. It's a grand musical that has all the stuff of a classic horror story-betrayal, madness, and murder-bloody yet mesmerizing. When Benjamin Barker, alias Sweeney Todd, returns to London after years of wrongful imprisonment, he vows to take revenge on the man who destroyed his life. Meeting Mrs. Lovett, the proprietor of a meat pie shop, he learns of the suicide of his wife and the abduction of his daughter, and his descent into madness begins.
The musical thriller stars two of Washington's leading actors: Edward Gero, hailed for his interpretation of great Shakespearean roles, performing the tour de force role of Sweeney Todd, and as the wily, amoral Mrs. Lovett, Sherri L. Edelen, a Helen-Hayes winner praised for her deft touch with comedy.
Director Schaeffer stated, "When trying to pick which Sondheim musical would be featured in our 20th anniversary season, I had many titles floating in my head. Looking back over Signature's history, I thought it would be wonderful to rediscover the music that started in all here- Sweeney Todd. It was our first musical and began our long history with Sondheim productions, and Signature's connection to Stephen Sondheim. I wanted to find two great Washington actors to take on Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett and do an entirely new production in our beautiful new theater facility. It is the perfect fit for our 20th anniversary celebration"
The cast of 18 includes Gregory Maheu as Sweeney's friend, the young, naïve sailor Anthony, who falls in love with Sweeney's daughter Johanna, played by Signature favorite Erin Driscoll. The corrupt Judge Turpin is played by Chris Van Cleave and his right-hand man, Beadle Bamford, is Chris Sizemore. The simple boy Tobias is performed by Sam Ludwig and the blackmailing ItalIan Barber Pirelli is played by Michael Bunce. Channez McQuay is the mad Beggar Woman. The Ensemble is Jean Cantrell (who performed in the 10th anniversary production), Matt Conner, Sean Maurice Lynch, Kevin McAllister, Katie McManus, Chris Mueller, Russell Sunday, Hannah Willman, and Weslie Woodley.
Working with Eric Schaeffer on the creative team are Scenic Designer James Kronzer, Costumer Designer Kathleen Geldard, Lighting Designer Chris Lee, and Sound Designer Matt Rowe. Musical staging is by Matthew Gardiner, orchestration is by Zak Sandler, and music direction is by Jon Kalbfleisch.
SWEENEY TODD, THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
From an adaptation by Christopher Bond
February 9 - April 4, 2010
SCENIC DESIGN James Kronzer
COSTUME DESIGN Kathleen Geldard
LIGHTING DESIGN Chris Lee
SOUND DESIGN Matt Rowe
ORCHESTRATOR/ PIANO/ CONDUCTOR Zak Sandler
MUSIC DIRECTION BY Jon Kalbfleisch
DIRECTED BY Eric Schaeffer
In Order of Appearance
Anthony Hope Gregory Maheu
Sweeney Todd Edward Gero
Beggar Woman Channez McQuay
Mrs. Lovett Sherri L. Edelen
Judge Turpin Chris Van Cleave
The Beadle Chris Sizemore
Johanna Erin Driscoll
Tobias Ragg Sam Ludwig
Pirelli Michael Bunce
Sean Maurice Lynch
PRINCIPAL ACTOR BIOS
Michael Bunce (Pirelli) SIGNATURE: Urinetown, Pacific Overtures. NATIONAL TOURS: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Victor/Victoria with Toni Tennille. DC AREA: Ford's: A Christmas Carol, Meet John Doe, One Destiny; Olney: 1776, Anything Goes; Kennedy Center: Regina with Patti LuPone; Cumberland: Dirty Blonde, The Full Monty, Camping with Henry and Tom, Sweeney Todd. REGIONAL: Geva: Camelot; Barrington: South Pacific. INTERNATIONAL: 42nd Street (Troika Moscow).
Erin Driscoll (Johanna) SIGNATURE: The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Assassins (Helen Hayes Award, Best Musical), Urinetown (2006 Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Actress). DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Olney Theatre Center: Cinderella, Anything Goes; Round House: A Year with Frog and Toad; Kennedy Center: Regina w/ Patti LuPone (Alexandra Cover). REGIONAL: Arden Theatre: A Year with Frog and Toad, Candide; John W. Engeman Theatre, Long Island: Jekyll and Hyde. EDUCATION: BM, James Madison University. AWARDS: 2006 Roger Sturtevant Award.
Sherri L. Edelen (Mrs. Lovett) SIGNATURE: Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award), Urinetown, Elegies (Helen Hayes nomination), Side Show (Helen Hayes Award). DC AREA: Kennedy Center/Sondheim Celebration: Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along; Shakespeare Theatre: Design for Living; Olney: She Loves Me (Helen Hayes nomination); Rep Stage: Kimberly Akimbo; Round House: The World Goes ‘Round, The Diary of Anne Frank; Arena: Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination); Theater of the First Amendment: Sing Down the Moon, Perseus Bayou; Ford's: A Christmas Carol. REGIONAL: NY Fringe Festival: Citizen Ruth; Arden Theatre: Our Town, Caroline, or Change (Barrymore nomination); Philadelphia Theatre Co.: The Light in the Piazza, Elegies (Barrymore nomination); Stages St. Louis: The Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun.
Edward Gero (Sweeney Todd) NEW YORK: CSC Repertory Ltd.; South Street Theatre; Soho Repertory Theatre. DC AREA: Shakespeare Theatre Company: King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, King John, All's Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, Henry VI, Henry IV (Hotspur, Helen Hayes Award), Richard II (Bolingbroke, Helen Hayes Award), Macbeth (Macduff, Helen Hayes Award); Ford's Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Round House Theatre: Nixon's Nixon; Studio Theatre: Shining City, Seafarer, Skylight (Tom Sargeant, Helen Hayes Award); Olney Theatre Center; Arena Stage; Barter Theatre. REGIONAL: Goodman Theater, King Lear; Center Stage, Matchmaker. FILM: Die Hard 2, Striking Distance. TV: 2006 Emmy Award Before the Dinosaurs, Narration. INSTRUCTOR: Professor of Theater, George Mason University; Academy for Classical Acting, Maryland Opera Studios.
Sam Ludwig (Tobias Ragg) SIGNATURE: Show Boat, 21/24: The Hollow (Ichabod), A Fox on the Fairway Workshop (Justin), Partial Eclipse, Curveball Workshop (Ludwig), Les Misérables. DC AREA: Olney: Big River (Huck), 1776 (Courier); Theatre J: The Playdoh Golem Workshop (Sam); Toby's Dinner Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles (Jean-Michele), Titanic the Musical (Barrett).
Gregory Maheu (Anthony) NEW YORK: NYMF: The Toymaker. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Ragtime. REGIONAL: Hangar Theatre: Hair; Heritage Rep: Sunday in the Park with George. EDUCATION: Elon University, BFA.
Channez McQuay (Beggar Woman) SIGNATURE: See What I Wanna See (The Medium and Aunt Monica), Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Best Ensemble), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Molina's Mother), Into the Woods (Stepmother), My Fair Lady (Mrs. Eynsford-Hill), Nevermore (Muddy), Pacific Overtures (Ensemble). DC AREA: Ford's: Meet John Doe (Betty); Studio: The Adding Machine (Quartet), The Gifts of the Magi (City Her), Reefer Madness (Mae), Oil City Symphony (Ginger); Olney: Jacques Brel..., Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Joy), The Doll Makers Dilemma (Gertrude); Rep Stage: Falsettos (Charlotte); Toby's: Ragtime (Emma, Helen Hayes nomination), Gypsy (Rose), Funny Girl (Fanny), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Fiddler on the Roof (Golde), Pippin (Berthe), Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts).
Chris Sizemore (Beadle) SIGNATURE: Show Boat, Les Misérables (Enjorals, Helen Hayes Nomination, Helen Hayes Award Outstanding Ensemble), Anyone Can Whistle in Concert (Ensemble). DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: Civil War; Olney: 1776 (Edward Rutledge), Fiddler On The Roof (Sasha), Cinderella (The Herald); Toby's: Miss Saigon (Chris/Ensemble), Beauty & The Beast, Grease (Doody), Seussical; HOT: Carnival, My Fair Lady, Grease; Charleston Light Opera Guild: A Little Night Music (Henrik). NATIONAL TOUR: The Kennedy Center: Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka (Mike TV).
Chris Van Cleave (Judge Turpin): LONDON WEST END: Les Misérables, Chess, Bernadette. BRITISH NATIONAL TOUR: Jesus Christ Superstar. US NATIONAL TOURS: Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar. REGIONAL: Flat Rock Playhouse: Keep On The Sunny Side, The Rainmaker, Sanders Family Christmas; Mountain Playhouse: Smoke On The Mountain. Heritage Repertory: Return To The Forbidden Planet, How To Succeed In Business...; Yoder Barn: Children of Eden; Theater at Lime Kiln: Stonewall Country, Macbeth, Smoke on the Mountain. TELEVISION: A Haunting, Untold Stories of the Navy Seals, Secret Life of Charles Lindbergh. RECORDING: Paramount Records: The Friend Ship, six independent CDs. ORIGINAL SHOWS COMPOSED: The Davidson Affair performed in U.S., U.K., and Holland; Troubadour Knight at UVA; Presence TBA. EDUCATION: University of Virginia: MFA in Acting.
CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
Stephen Sondheim (Music and Lyrics) wrote the music and lyrics for Bounce (2003), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971, revised in London 1987 and in New York 2001), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz (1965), and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), and Putting it Together (1992, 2000) are anthologies of his work. For film he composed the scores for Stravinsky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990). He wrote the songs for television's Evening Primrose (1966), co-authored the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and the play Getting Away with Murder (1966), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961), and Twigs (1971). He won Tony Awards® for Best Score of a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies, (1971), and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985). Mr. Sondheim is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, having serviced as its president form 1973 to 1981, and in 1983 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990, he was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University, and in 1993 was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
Hugh Wheeler (Book) won three Tony Awards® for Candide, A Little Night Music, and Sweeney Todd. He wrote the libretto for the revival of Irene and the plays Big Fish, Little Fish; Look: We've Come Through; We have Always Lived in the Castle; and additional material for the musical Pacific Overtures. For films he wrote the screen plays for Travels with My Aunt, Something for Everyone, A Little Night Music and Nijinsky, directed by Herbert Ross. For 20-odd years, he wrote mysteries under the pseudonyms Patrick Quentin and Q. Patrick, including Puzzle for Fools, Puzzle for Players, Puzzle for Puppets, Puzzle for Wantons, and Puzzle for Fiends. Four of his novels have been transformed in films: Black Widow, Man in the Net, The Green-Eyed Monster, and The Man with Two Wives. Mr. Wheeler also wrote a new adaptation of the Kurt Whill opera Silverlake, which was directed by Hal Prince at the New York City Opera.
Eric Schaeffer (Director) SIGNATURE: Cofounder and artistic director; Sweeney Todd, Show Boat, First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb; Les Misérables, Ace, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Glory Days, The Witches of Eastwick, Saving Aimee, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Nevermore, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower, Allegro, Twentieth Century, 110 in the Shade, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Gospel According to Fishman, Grand Hotel, The Rhythm Club, Over & Over, The Fix, Working, The Rink, Cabaret, First Lady Suite, Wings, Poor Superman, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, and Sondheim musicals Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George (Arena Stage coproduction), Passion, Into the Woods, Company, Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Follies, and Pacific Overtures. BROADWAY: Glory Days, Putting It Together. NATIONAL TOURS: big, BarbieTM Live in FairytopiaTM. OFF-BROADWAY: Sweet Adeline (City Center Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert), Under the Bridge. LONDON: Royal Drury Lane & Prince of Wales Theatres: The Witches of Eastwick. DC AREA: Ford's: Meet John Doe; Kennedy Center: Mame starring Christine Baranski, Sondheim Celebration (artistic director), Passion, Sunday in the Park with George. NEW YORK: Avery Fisher Hall: Sondheim Concert. REGIONAL: Goodman: Million Dollar Quartet; Apollo Theatre: Million Dollar Quartet; Mark Taper Forum: Putting It Together (w/ Carol Burnett); Chicago: Elmer Gantry; Los Angeles: Disney's Snow White. TRAINING: BFA, Kutztown University; extended studies, Crewe and Alsager College of Visual Arts, Crewe, England. AWARDS: 2002 Washingtonian of the Year, five Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Direction, six Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Musical, 26 Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding Director; 2007 Arts Founder Award.
Jon Kalbfleisch (Music Director) SIGNATURE (resident music director): Show Boat, First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb, Les Misérables, Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower, Elegies, Allegro, Follies, 110 in the Shade, Grand Hotel, Putting It Together, Forum, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, The Fix, Sunday in the Park with George, Passion, Cabaret, Wings, First Lady Suite, Company. BROADWAY: Les Misérables (associate conductor). DC AREA: Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, National Theatre, Warner Theatre, Washington Ballet, Studio, Shakespeare. REGIONAL: Mark Taper Forum: Putting it Together; Martin Guerre, James Joyce's The Dead. OTHER: Carnegie Hall, Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, The White House, National Building Museum, The Library of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court. TV: "Good Morning America." AWARDS: Five Helen Hayes Awards and 20 nominations. EDUCATION: Master of Music, SMU.
Matthew Gardiner (Musical Staging) SIGNATURE: Director: Swingin' Santas, Signature Sings: 1995-1999, See What I Wanna See, December Divas II, Kander & Ebb Overtures, Singing Shakespeare; Choreographer: Dirty Blonde; Assistant Director: Show Boat, Les Misérables, Little Dog Laughed, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, ACE, The Visit, Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Nevermore; Resident Assistant Director 2006-present; Assistant Choreographer: Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, Saving Aimee, Urinetown. NEW YORK: Director: NYMF: The Greenwood Trees; Assistant Director: Circle in the Square: Glory Days. DC AREA: Co-Director/Choreographer: Studio Theatre 2ndStage: Jerry Springer: The Opera, Reefer Madness (2008 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical), Director/Choreographer: MetroStage: tick, tick...BOOM!; Catholic University of America: La Boheme, Candide; Assistant Director: Kennedy Center: Cat on A Hot Tin Roof; Choreographer: Studio: Grey Gardens. EDUCATION: Carnegie Mellon University, BFA. UPCOMING: Director: Signature Theatre: [title of show].
James Kronzer (Scenic Design) SIGNATURE: Show Boat, Glory Days, Merrily We Roll Along, Nest, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Assassins. BROADWAY: Glory Days. OFF-BROADWAY: Opus, Under the Bridge. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Oman O Man, The Phantom Tollbooth; Shakespeare Theatre: The Beaux Stratagem; Washington Ballet: Cinderella; Round House: Merrily, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolly Mammoth: The Unmentionables, Maria Stuart; Olney: The Glass Menagerie, Democracy; Folger Theatre: A Winter's Tale; REGIONAL: Playmakers: Opus; Arden Theater: Something Intangible, Our Town, Candide, Caroline, or Change; Philadelphia Theater Co: Elegies; Denver Center: When Tang Met Laika; Pioneer Theater: Brighton Beach Memoirs, As You Like It (Weston, VT); A Christmas Carol (Worcester MA & Knoxville TN). NATIONAL TOURS: Seussical the Musical, Big, Show Boat, Thomas the Tank, Barbie Live!, Backyardigans; Scenic co-ordinator: The Wizard of Oz, Drowsy Chaperone, The Producers, Fosse, Annie; AWARDS: 8 Helen Hayes Awards (Washington DC), 2 Barrymore Awards (Philadelphia). AFFILIATIONS: United Scenic Artists.
Kathleen Geldard (Costume Designer) SIGNATURE: I Am My Own Wife, Show Boat, See What I Wanna See, Les Misérables, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Happy Time. DC AREA: Woolly Mammoth: Eclipsed; Round House: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Eurydice, Orson's Shadow, Life x 3; Imagination Stage: The Neverending Story (2008 Helen Hayes Nomination), Twice Upon a Time, The Hundred Dresses, Huck Finn's Story, Charlotte's Web, Liang and the Magic Paintbrush; Studio-Arena Theatre: Batboy; Olney: Is He Dead?, Rabbit Hole, Of Mice and Men, Elephant Man, Having Our Say; Folger Theatre: Comedy of Errors, All's Well that Ends Well; Studio Theatre Secondstage; Everyman Theatre; Vineyard Playhouse; Theater J; Rep Stage; Catalyst Theater; Theater Alliance. DANCE: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange: Nocturnes, The Farthest Earth From Thee, 613 Radical Acts of Prayer, Funny Uncles, Imprints on a Landscape: The Mining Project, Still Crossing 2006. AWARDS: nominated for 3 Greater Baltimore Theatre Awards; recipient for The Seagull at Rep Stage.
Chris Lee (Lighting Design) SIGNATURE: Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Word Begins, The Witches Of Eastwick, Saving Aimee, Into The Woods, Assassins, One Red Flower, Follies, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Grand Hotel, ... in the absence of spring ... , Side Show, Urinetown, Elegies: A Song Cycle. BROADWAY/WEST END: Fame Becomes Me, Linda Eder Live, Shakespeare's R&J (Tokyo & London). OTHER: The Pajama Game (National Tour), The Backyardigans (National Tour), Barbie Live In Fairytopia (National Tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (European Tour), Twice Charmed and Remember The Magic for Disney Creative Entertainment, Peep Show for Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, the feature film Camp, and over 200 Off Broadway and Regional Theatre productions. His studio, Lightworks, conceives and designs lighting for clients such as Coca Cola, Ford Motor Company, Sony Ericsson, American Express, and Intel. AWARDS: 2009 Helen Hayes Award, Kiss Of The Spider Woman.
Matt Rowe (Sound Design) SIGNATURE: Show Boat, First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb, Dirty Blonde, Giant, The Little Dog Laughed, Les Misérables, Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, The Visit, The Happy Time, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Glory Days, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick, The Word Begins (workshop), SITS Eve of Destruction, Assistant Sound Designer Assassins, My Fair Lady, The Sex Habits of American Women. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Nobody's Perfect; MetroStage: tick...tick...BOOM!; Assistant Sound Designer and Production Sound Engineer, Betty Rules. NEW YORK: Turtle Shell Productions: Pucked, Eight Minute Madness.
Zak Sandler (Associate Music Director) SIGNATURE: See What I Wanna See, Les Misérables, Ace, Anyone Can Whistle. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Broadway: Three Generations; Studio Theatre: Caroline, Or Change. REGIONAL: Open Circle Theatre: Songs for a New World; Musical Theater Center: Honk!, Meet Me In St. Louis. EDUCATIONAL: Yale: Bat Boy, The Last 5 Years, Forever Plaid, Where It's At. AWARDS: NFAA ARTS Merit Award in Classical Piano; Washington Post Music and Dance Scholarship Award; Senior Artist Diploma, Levine School of Music. EDUCATION: Yale College, BA, Music.
Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 26 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces. In addition to the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been a home to such theater luminaries as John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has been nominated for 276 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the professional theater and has been honored with 69 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Musical in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009, and Outstanding Play in 1999.
Signature is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and by a gift from Arlington County through the Arlington Commission for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources.
Signature Theatre is just nine minutes from downtown Washington, DC in Arlington's Shirlington Village. The new theater complex is located at 4200 Campbell Avenue (22206) off I-395 at the Shirlington exit. After the exit, blue Signature signs mark the way to the Theatre. Free parking is available in two adjacent public garages. Please note that Campbell Avenue is a new street and some GPS online mapping systems do not yet recognize Signature Theatre's address. For directions visit http://signature-theatre.org/map.htm.