Last show of Sweeney Todd tonight
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 22:03
“Sweeney Todd” has an interesting history at the University of Southern Mississippi. After a long history of the play not being able to work out, Wednesday was the first time the performance and theatre departments were able to pull off the iconic play.
After losing the entire set to the tornado in February, it seemed likely that “Sweeney Todd” would not be gracing a Hattiesburg stage. Though the play’s ensemble managed to move the production into the Saenger Theatre downtown for just two showings, they made sure that the show would go on.
“The only thing worse than losing the set is having to cut the performance days,” said Tammy Mansfield, production head. Originally, “Sweeney Todd” was to play on campus for several showings, but with the change in venue, those showing have been pushed to just Wednesday and Thursday.
“But the Saenger seats twice as many people and these were the only days we could get the space,” said Mansfield. “We’re just thankful to still be able to do the show.”
“It was a gorgeous set,” said Nick Webb, USM alumnus and the actor for Judge Turpin. “It made you feel like you were in London.”
Webb was involved when “Sweeney Todd” was suppose to show five years ago and saw the school lose the rights to perform it once it went back on Broadway.
“It’s a tradition to say we’re going to do it and something always gets in the way,” said Webb. “We thought this was going to be another time, but here we are doing it.”
To work around the lack of set, rehearsals were taking place in the University Baptist Church reception hall. Using little more than a few chairs, benches and tables, director Mike Lopinto and his team was able to start from scratch and put together a very different but still very high quality production.
It’s been a whirlwind,” said Stephanie Miles, sophomore in music education and the actress playing Johana. “We’ve changed the set and 85 percent of our stage.”
Even with only spending two days practicing on the actual stage, Miles shares the cast’s resolute nature.
“It’s like dangling meat in front of you and taking it away,” Miles said
“We feel like we have something to prove,” said Cody Laun, a doctoral student and the actor playing Anthony Hope.