PlayMakers presents Sondheim musical ‘Sweeney Todd’

Sweeney-WebPlayMakers Repertory Company concludes its main-stage season with Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece “Sweeney Todd,” on stage March 30 through April 23. Special events associated with the show begin March 14.

Music and lyrics for the “bloody great” musical, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a musical thriller,” are by the legendary Sondheim, with a book written by Hugh Wheeler, from an adaptation by Christopher Bond. The show was originally directed on Broadway by Harold Prince with orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick.

A brilliant tale of obsession and revenge, “Sweeney Todd” combines melodrama, murder — and “the worst pies in London” —with a sumptuous score. Murderous barber Sweeney and his culinary accomplice Mrs. Lovett take the audience on a spellbinding journey of soaring songs, comic turns and thrilling drama.

The New York Times proclaimed the multiple Tony and Olivier Award-winner a “whopping grisly yarn” and “thumping good entertainment.” The Hollywood Reporter raved that “an audacious balance of acid-drenched comedy with subversive class warfare, gore and glowering drama puts ‘Sweeney Todd’ in a league of its own.”

Annie Golden as Mrs. Lovett and David St. Louis as Sweeney Todd. (photo by Jon Gardiner)
Annie Golden as Mrs. Lovett and David St. Louis as Sweeney Todd. (photo by Jon Gardiner)

David St. Louis will play Sweeney Todd. He has appeared on Broadway in “Side Show,” “Harlem Song,” “Rent,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Annie Golden, featured in Broadway hits such as “Violet,” “On the Town” and “The Full Monty” will be Mrs. Lovett. She originated the role of Squeaky Fromme in the world premiere of Sondheim’s “Assassins.” Golden appears as Norma Romano in the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award.

The company also features many of the cast members from PlayMakers’ 2014 hit “Into the Woods,” along with PlayMakers’ favorites, such as Ray Dooley appearing as Judge Turpin, and Brian Owen from “Peter and the Starcatcher” returning as Pirelli.

Mark Hartman is music director. He has led all of PlayMakers’ Sondheim musicals, as well as its production of “Cabaret.” His Broadway credits include “Sondheim on Sondheim,” “Avenue Q,” “Miss Saigon” and “1776.”

Performances will take place in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays and Saturday, April 9.

David St. Louis as Sweeney Todd in PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” (photo by Jon Gardiner)

In conjunction with “Sweeney Todd,” PlayMakers hosts “The Vision Series-Directors in Conversation,” a behind-the-scenes preview with director Jen Wineman, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Paul Green Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. Participants share coffee and hors d’oeuvres provided by series sponsor Jujube Restaurant, learn about the vision for the show and get a sneak peek at the sets and costumes in progress. Reservations are appreciated. Call PlayMakers’ box office at (919) 962-7529 to RSVP.

Other special events will include:

  • March 14, 7 p.m.: “In the Wings,” presented by PlayMakers and the Durham County Library. Cast and creative team members discuss the play at the main library, 300 N. Roxboro St., downtown Durham;
  • March 21, 6 p.m.: a discussion with the director and cast at McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro;
  • March 30, 31 and April 1, 7:30 p.m.: preview performances;
  • April 2, 7:30 p.m.: opening night performance;
  • April 5: an all-access performance for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description;
  • April 6 and 10: free post-show discussions with members of the creative team;
  • April 9, 2 p.m.: open captioned performance;
  • April 11, 7 p.m.: UNC’s Program in the Humanities and Human Values will host “Table Talk: Creative Choices from Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd’” at the Siena Hotel, 1505 E. Franklin St. , pairing a three-course dinner and conversations with PlayMakers’ new producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch, dramaturg Gregory Kable and scenic designer Jan Chambers. Tickets are $80. Limited seating; pre-registration is required. Visit or call (919) 962-1544.
  • April 15, 6 p.m.: An Evening at PlayMakers: pre-show reception with artistic staff hosted by UNC’s General Alumni Association, followed by the 7:30 p.m. performance. $60, general public; $40, GAA members; includes theater ticket. Register at
  • April 16, 7:30 p.m. and April 17, 2 p.m.: free post-show “Mindplay” discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society.

PlayMakers ends its current season with “The Real Americans” by Dan Hoyle (April 27-May 1) in its PRC2 series. Subscription packages are also available for PlayMakers’ 2016-17 season. Renewing subscribers can secure their current seats for the new season through April 8.

For information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-7529 or visit Individual ticket prices for “Sweeney Todd” start at $15.