Sweeney Todd, the chilling musical about a barber who seeks murderous revenge for the loss of his wife, is being presented this month at the Agoura Hills Performing Arts Education Center by the the Agoura Community Theater (ACT) in partnership with Curtain Call Youth Theatre.
This production is being modeled after a 2008 musical that starred Neil Patrick Harris and Patti Lupone, according to Jeff Wallach, artistic director of Curtain Call Youth Theater. “Our production will take place in the gorgeous Black Box [at the PAEC], so we have the opportunity to make this world however we want it,” said Wallach. “The costumes are suggested; the sets are suggested, so the focus will be on the actors.”
There are fifteen participating students, ranging in ages from 15-19, and hailing from Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Newbury Park, Wallach said. Composer/musician Justin Ramos will provide the piano accompaniment. “We are so fortunate to have him as part of this production,” he said.
In the familiar tale, Sweeney Todd murders his unsuspecting customers. Nicholas Glaab, a veteran of local youth theater, said he’s portraying the title character in a likable manner. “He’s kind of laid back,” said the 16-year-old Newbury Park High student. “He pushes the Dominos and just watches the rest happen.”
The oldest member of the cast, Sarah Kline, 19, plays Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney’s partner in crime who assists him in disposing of the bodies by baking their flesh into meat pies and selling them at her pie shop. “She’s had a romantic obsession with him since before he was sent away,” said the Cal State Northridge student of the story line. “She’s just so excited to have him near that she’ll do anything [for him].”
Kline, who’s worked with Wallach on other productions, urges all interested theater students to get involved with the Youth Community Theater. “He’s so good with his students,” she said. “He’s been on both sides, as an actor and director, so he’s very supportive.”
The theater program presents four seasonal productions a year with the ultimate goal of showcasing them at the new Parks & Recreation building currently under construction atop
Ladyface Ct. Rehearsals for the shows take place on weekends only, which Wallach says has proven beneficial for both students and parents alike. “This way [rehearsals] don’t interfere with after-school functions,” he said.
Nick Newkirk, city recreation supervisor, oversees the theater program. “People should come because it is important to support local theater and especially local youth theater,” he said.
The show will run August 28 – September 6, playing Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 – $20 and can be purchased at http://ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/government/departments/community-services-parks-recreation/events-activities/agoura-community-theater-sweeney-todd or at the door.