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Sheboygan High Schools Among First in Nation to Perform "Sweeney Todd"

Sheboygan North and South High School students are among the first to perform the high school version of "Sweeney Todd."

Performances are being held November 7-9 and November 13-15 at 7 p.m., and a matinee Nov. 9, 2 p.m. The North/South musical is being held at Sheboygan North High School, 1042 School Avenue, Sheboygan.

Tickets are available at the Sheboygan North High School's attendance office, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. All seats are reserved. Tickets are $6/adult, $3/student (grades 6-12) and $1/child. Tickets will also be for sale 45 minutes before the curtain opens.

The play encompasses 35 actors, 25 musicians and 25 stage crew

"We are one of the first high schools in Wisconsin to produce Sweeney Todd. We are always trying to do what's in the best interest of our young performers," said Jay Johnson, Sheboygan North High School teacher and director of the performance, who is excited to see the students take in the thriller, musical, comedy of "Sweeney Todd."

The rare instance of a musical thriller, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. His thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers, and the resourceful proprietress of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe.

Sophisticated, macabre, visceral and uncompromising, "Sweeney Todd" nevertheless has a great sense of fun, mixing intense drama with funny moments of dark humor: audiences find themselves laughing hysterically one moment and gasping in surprise the next.

At the show's core is a challenging score of epic proportion with two tasty tour de force roles in Sweeney and his comic female accomplice Mrs. Lovett. Although it has been extremely popular with opera companies and in concert presentation, "Sweeney Todd" is equally effective as an intimate chamber musical.

"It has an outstanding score by one of the best contemporary musical composers. The set, music and acting all provide great challenges for students. We try to balance doing shows like Disney's, 'Beauty and the Beast', with something more challenging and artistic," said Johnson. "I hope the students and audiences understand the beauty and artistry of Sweeney. "I hope they are entertained by one of my favorite musical theatre scores."

Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
November 4, 2008