Musical draws big crowds

Kelly Richardson

For two people plotting to kill unsuspecting Londoners and bake them into pies, they seem surprisingly lighthearted about it all.

This is a recurring theme for “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The musical takes a serious and depressing subject and manages to make the audience laugh throughout.

And the show hasn’t been lacking for audience members, either. Western’s production of “Sweeney Todd,” which opened Thursday and ends tonight, sold out last night and came close every other night. Tonight’s show is also sold out.

The musical tells the story of Todd, whose real name is Benjamin Barker, who was wrongly imprisoned by Judge Turpin, who wants Barker’s wife.

Barker returns years later as Todd, a barber who becomes so disgusted with mankind he decides to kill all of his customers, while his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, bakes them into meat pies.

David Young, an assistant professor of theatre and dance, is the director of “Todd,” and said the performances have gone well.

Young and Wayne Pope, an assistant music professor and the music director of the play, collaborate on either an opera or a musical every year.

“We have a really nice working relationship,” Young said. “He kind of knows what I want to happen, and I have absolute faith in his instincts about the music.”

Pope and Young aren’t the only ones who feel the show has thus far been a success.

Amanda Biggs, a junior from Bloomington, Ind., plays Mrs. Lovett, a character she describes as “wild and crazy and incredibly smart.”

“I think everyone has worked tremendously hard and it shows,” she said.

While many cast members had a particular night that stood out in their mind as great, Gravel Switch senior Ryan Lanham, who plays Todd, couldn’t pick just one performance.

“That’s the beauty of live performance,” Lanham said. “Every night has its own special qualities, depending on the audience.”

Audience members seemed to approve of Thursday’s opening performance.

“It was obvious there was a lot of talent and they worked hard,” Bowling Green resident Susan Scott said. “It was a marvelous production.”

Herald reporter Rebecca Grover contributed to this story. Reach the reporters at [email protected]