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The Daily Wildcat


‘Sweeney Todd’ bringing life and death back to Marroney Theatre

Cast members from left, Kinzie Pipkin, Katie Browne, Haiden Pederson, Noelle Robinson, Dovid Adler, and James Kelley Carroll rehearse for “Sweeney Todd.” The musical Feb. 25-March 17 reopens the Marrony Theater after a two-year renovation project. Photo courtesy of Tim Fuller.

The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television is bringing “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” to Marroney Theatre from Feb. 25 to March 17 — the first production at the theater since its two-year renovation.

The Marroney has been closed for renovations since the summer of 2022 but is reopening just in time for “Sweeney Todd,” with performances moved to the smaller Tornabene Theatre. The Marroney, built in 1956, got a new lobby, upgraded technology, and a facelift as part of the university-wide strategic plan to improve campus facilities.

“We knew the renovations for the Marroney were going to be complete around that time. We wanted to do a big show that was worthy of the theater’s reopening,” said Danny Gurwin, the UA theater professor who is directing the musical thriller.

In the play, after Sweeney Todd was wrongly imprisoned for years in 19th-century London, he comes home hoping to find his wife and infant daughter.

Todd, who is a barber, reconnects with his landlord, Mrs. Lovett, who owns a meat pie shop on the first floor of his Fleet Street building. She encourages Todd to get revenge by killing people with his barber razors.

He wants revenge, and she wants business. It’s a killer combo; he kills them, and she bakes them into pies.

The Stephen Sondheim musical is based on Christopher Bond’s 1970 play, “Sweeney Todd.” It opened on Broadway in 1979 and won a Tony Award the same year for Best Musical. It was made into a movie in 2007 starring Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett.

From left, James Kelley Carroll as Sweeney Todd and Grace Gebara as Mrs. Lovett rehearse a scene for “Sweeney Todd.” Courtesy by Tim Fuller.

Sweeney Todd can be a challenging and complex character to play.

“The character itself is fascinating to me because he’s the main character of the show, but he’s not your typical main character. He’s not a hero because he’s killing people and doing all these crazy things,” said James Kelley Carroll, who plays Sweeney Todd.

Carroll said he has had a blast putting this show together and cannot wait for audiences to see it.

Grace Gebara, playing the role of Mrs. Lovett, called the cast for Sweeney Todd “insane” and described her participation in the production as one of the best experiences she’s had.

“I knew the character, but it was really when I dove into the music and heard myself and saw myself doing it [that] I thought this would be a really great role for me,” Gebara said.

In January, she won Best Supporting Performer in a Musical from Broadway World for her work as Paulette in UA’s production of “Legally Blonde.”

Previews are on Feb. 25 and Feb. 28, and performances run from Feb. 29-March 17, with a post-show discussion on March 15.

If you go

What: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Presented by: University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television

When: Previews at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays through March 17, with an additional 1:30 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, March 16.

Where: Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road, on the UA campus

Tickets: $15 to $35 through Ticketmaster

Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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