GVSU Opera Theater presents Sweeney Todd

By Nicole Bobb | 1/8/17 9:53pm

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GVL / Courtesy - Caitlyn Cusack Sweeney Todd

by / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Grand Valley State University Opera Theater presents Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with showings Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 12.

Sweeney Todd will be the second show of the academic year for GVSU Opera Theater, who presented Gianni Schicchi this past fall. This dark-humored comedy was written by Hugh Wheeler and composed by Stephen Sondheim. Sweeney Todd was adapted to the cinema in 2007 with Johnny Depp playing Sweeney.

“Sometimes a show just has timing and it just felt like it was the right time to do it," said Dale Schriemer, the Sweeney Todd producer. "It is a very intense, dramatic experience. It is a very vocally demanding experience."

GVL / Courtesy - Caitlyn Cusack

The role of Sweeney was filled by Maxwell Elkiss, a music major at GVSU. Elkiss first became interested in being part of a production of Sweeney Todd in middle school.

“(Sweeney and I) both are very passionate about what we do. He loves being a barber and I love being a musician," Elkiss said. "When he picks up those razors he feels so at home and he feels very back and complete. Whenever I go up on stage to perform or whenever I have music to work on I feel at home; I feel complete."

Sweeney is a complex character who changes from a decent-minded individual into someone seeking revenge through murder after life as he knew it is destroyed.

“It's a lot more complicated when it comes to developing the character, the most complex character I've ever played," Elkiss said. "(I've tried to figure) out those complexities while keeping it simple and not over dramatic and not making me look like a total psychopath at times."

Sweeney Todd is a balance of comedy and horror with a musical mix of simple tunes and more complex parts in the score that require a higher level of precision. The show is aimed to keep audience members on their toes.

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