Cast chosen for Southeastern Opera Workshop's “Sweeney Todd”

Thursday, September 11, 2014
by: Tonya Lowentritt

HAMMOND - Southeastern Louisiana University's Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present the Broadway musical, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 25 and 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond.

"Stephen Sondheim is a living Broadway legend; for the last 50 years his musicals have continually expanded the boundaries of what a Broadway musical can – and should – be," said Charles Effler, director of the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop.

"In Sweeney, he reaches towards opera – and his setting of the tale of the infamous barber and his demonic, yet comic, meat pie-baking sidekick, Mrs. Lovett, has chilled and delighted audiences in productions all over the world since its 1979 Broadway debut," he added. Join Opera/Music Theatre Workshop in exploring this tragic story amid the squalor and cruelty of 1850s Victorian London; with, of course, a love story -- and a lot of laughs -- along the way."

The original Broadway production was nominated for nine Tony awards and won eight, including Best Score for Sondheim.

Opera Workshop welcomes back guest stage director Alton Geno for this production. In addition to a long career as a performer, choreographer and director in New Orleans and around the country, Geno has directed Opera Workshop's productions of The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific, The Wizard of Oz and The Music Man.

The cast includes Steven Rushing of Baton Rouge as Sweeney Todd; Analynn Sober of Lake Charles and Kristina Temple of Amite double cast as Mrs. Lovett; Jonathan Dupre of Luling as Tobias Ragg; Benjamin Vollentine of Covington as Anthony Hope; Lauren Gibson of Walker and Michelle Guillot of Slidell double cast as Johanna; Alison Joiner of Ponchatoula and Dana Arthur of Abita Springs double cast as beggar woman; Brent Goodrich of Sulphur as Judge Turpin; Nicholas Smith of Ponchatoula as the Beadle; Chase Ledet of Houma as Adolfo Pirelli and Olivia Lowentritt of Hammond as the customer's daughter.

The ensemble, otherwise known as townspeople, policemen and lunatics, include Terelle Bibbins of Slidell, Ryan Breaux of Lafayette, Morgan Curole of Larose, Rachel Davis of Mandeville, Mindy Guidroz of Houma, Provence Hatfield of Amite, Alyssa Hernandez of Metairie, Cody Sires of Chalmette, and Ivan Stroup of Des Allemands.

Effler will serve as musical director and conductor, Department of Fine and Performing Arts faculty members Steve Schepker and Mignon Charvet will design the sets and costumes, respectively, and former Southeastern employee Ellen Lipkos will design the lighting. Southeastern theatre student Katy Truluck will serve as stage manager.

Originally produced on Broadway by Richard Barr, Charles Woodward, Robert Fryer, Mary Lea Johnson, and Martin Richards in association with Dean and Judy Manos, "Sweeney Todd" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

Advance tickets are available at the Columbia Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also be available beginning one hour prior to each performance. Ticket prices are $21 for adults; $16 for seniors, Southeastern faculty/staff and non-Southeastern students; and $8 for children twelve and younger. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their ID.

For more information about the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop contact Effler at

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Musical Thriller," with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler, from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, originally directed on Broadway by Harold Prince; orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019,

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