General McLane’s production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ opens Nov. 19

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 at 9:25 PM
General McLane’s production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ opens Nov. 19 by Anna Ashcraft
Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) and Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) in the popular 2007 film adaptation.

Demon Barber Sweeney Todd and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett work together to get revenge by baking their enemies into pies. Set in 19th century England, this musical is based on the 1973 play, “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” by Christopher Bond. Many adaptations over the years, including an extensive Broadway run and the 2007 movie with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, have made this story renowned.

General McLane High School will be putting on a production of the Tony award winning show Nov. 19 through 22. Showtimes will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

“‘Sweeney Todd’ is a very challenging show, both musically and with regard to acting. In theatre circles, it is considered a masterpiece of modern musical theatre,” General McLane High School musical director Bruce Yates said.

It features [Kyle Brace] as Sweeney Todd, Anthony Hope [Cody Gould], “Beggar Woman” [Melina Walter], Mrs. Lovett [Emily Tworek], Judge Turpin [Mike Hess], “The Beadle” [Chris Makowski], Johanna [Olivia Graham], Tobias Ragg [A.J. Ferretti], Pirelli [Isaac Petcak] and Jonas Fogg [Chayce Neamand].

“The student version is not much different from the original version. The only difference is that a few of the songs are in a different key from the original, specifically songs for Pirelli and Beadle. All other songs are in the original key and the beggar woman’s lyrics have been changed to avoid the original sexually suggestive text,” Yates said.

Violence is a big issue when doing live theatre. It is noticeable when violence is portrayed on stage, so most directors choose to do implied or off-stage violence.

“We will be using more implied rather than graphic displays of violence. Lighting will be key to creating the effect of blood and the industrial whistle sound effect is used to signify death or killing. In the revival Broadway production, there was no graphic violence or blood. We will be following that interpretation,” Yates said.

General McLane was selected as a Grammy Signature School Semi-Finalist in 2014. Music teacher Bruce Yates was selected as a quarter-finalist for the 2016 Music Educator award. Last year’s performances of “Phantom of the Opera” sold out for all four of its shows. The General McLane Broadway Dinner, which has produced 115 performances to more than 32,000 people over the last 32 years, is held annually in the spring, and the most recent performance incorporated more than 220 students in some capacity.

The cast will perform live on Froggy WGYY FM 100.3 and its corresponding AM station, 1490, at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 16.

Tickets go on sale Nov. 2 in the High School Office and will be $7 for students, $10 for general admission and $15 for a limited number of reserved seats (which are the first eight rows of the center section, about 120 seats per night).

Tickets will also be available at the door or by calling the General McLane High School office at (814) 273-1003 ext. 1900.

Anna Ashcraft is The Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at

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