Student Production Brings Sweeney Todd To Newark

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NEWARK – The annual summer collaboration between the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the New Jersey Youth Theatre is a retelling of Stephen Sondheim’s macabre, Tony Award-winning musical thriller, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

In this summer musical program, talented young actors and musicians from across the state learn what it takes to mount a Broadway-level production, from acting, singing and dancing to playing in the orchestra and behind the scenes work, all at no cost to them.

More humorous than the film version starring Johnny Depp, this new production of the classic tells the suspenseful, razor-sharp story of barber Benjamin Barker (aka Sweeney Todd), who returns to grimy 19th-century London vowing to extract revenge for his false imprisonment with the help of immoral baker Mrs. Lovett. Their twisted strategy: Sweeney will murder his victims in his barber chair and Mrs. Lovett will turn them into the tastiest meat pies in London.

The NJPAC/NJYT production of Sweeney Todd features a multi-cultural cast of 30 talented New Jersey actors, ages 15 to 22 years old. The principal cast includes: Kevin Melendez of West New York as Sweeney Todd; Jaclyn Ingoglia of North Caldwell as Mrs. Lovett; Eryn LeCroy of Belle Mead as Johanna; Stephen Mir of Bloomfield as Anthony; Adam Bashian of Wyckoff as Judge Turpin; Christopher Georgetti of Nutley as Beadle; Kirk Geritano of Edison as Pirelli, Carey Gsell of Glen Ridge as Tobias and Lori Tishfield of Freehold as Beggar Woman/Lucy.

“Our young performers seem to thrive on our raising the bar. Sweeney Todd is the most demanding production we have undertaken in our eighteen years, but I feel confident that the cast and musicians will meet the vocal and dramatic challenges head on and deliver remarkable performances,” said Cynthia Meryl, artistic director and co-founder of New Jersey Youth Theatre.

The Sweeney Todd cast will be accompanied by an orchestra of experienced student musicians and seasoned professionals.

“Sweeney Todd” premieres in NJPAC’s Victoria Theater on Friday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. and runs for nine performances through Sunday, July 26. Tickets are $35-$16 and are available by telephone 1-888-466-5722, at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or by visiting www.njpac.org.


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