East West Players presents the Broadway-favorite Sweeney Todd by Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim
East West Players, the nation's premier Asian American theatre, continues its historic 40th Anniversary Season with Sweeney Todd, book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Tim Dang, EWP's Artistic Director, will direct. Sweeney Todd is presented with generous support from the S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players.
Dang is an Ovation and Drama-Logue/Garland Award-winning director of Sondheim productions in Los Angeles, earning critical and box office success with past productions such as the Los Angeles-premiere of PASSION (2003), A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (2001), FOLLIES (2000), PACIFIC OVERTURES (1998), MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (1995), SWEENEY TODD (1994) and INTO THE WOODS (1992).
The rare instance of a musical thriller, Sweeney Todd is a 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 owner of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves for her mysterious new meat pie recipe! East West Players 1994 production of Sweeney Todd earned five Theatre LA Ovation Awards, five Drama-Logue Awards and a LA Weekly Theatre Award.
"In celebrating East West Players‚ 40th Anniversary, we wanted to revisit some of the successful shows that were defining moments in our history. But we didn't want a simple repeat of Sweeney Todd, or to diminish the memories and significance of our 1994 production. Instead, a whole new design team will create the streets of London during the early 1900s in our current mid-size theatre. The show also features an entirely new cast as we continue to showcase the wonderful talent in the Asian American community and provide opportunities to Asian American artists," Dang said.
Playing the title character of "Sweeney Todd" is actor Ronald M. Banks. His musical theater credits include THE KING AND I, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, KISS ME KATE, PACIFIC OVERTURES, FLOWER DRUM SONG and EVITA.
Long-time East West Players artist Marilyn Tokuda will play "Mrs. Lovett." Recent East West Players credits include THEORY OF EVERYTHING, FOLLIES, HANAKO and WOMAN FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. Currently, Tokuda is East West Players‚ Arts Education Director.
The creative team for Sweeney Todd is set designer John Binkley, costume designer Ivy Chou, lighting designer Rand Ryan, choreographer Marc Oka and stage manager Ric Figueroa.
Other members of the cast include Kerry Keiko Carnahan, Samuel J. Chen, Cesar Cipriano, Louise Marie Cornillez, Antoine Reynaldo Diel, Jennifer Jung, Timothy Ford Murphy, Kristina Reyes, Ray Rochelle, Charles Romaine, Helen Ryu, Kathy Villanueva and Lito Villareal.
All performances are in the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts, located in Little Tokyo at 120 Judge John Aiso St. (formerly San Pedro St. between Temple and First streets). Opening night is February 8, 2006 (includes gala reception with the director, cast and crew) and closing on March 5, 2006. Previews are February 2-4 at 8 pm and February 5 at 2 pm. Regular performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm (no Saturday matinee on February 11). An American Sign Language-interpreted performance is scheduled for February 25 at 2 pm.
Ticket prices are $65 for Opening Night. Preview performances are $20 for all seats. Regular performances are $40 in the orchestra and $35 for the balcony. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday, 11 am to 5 pm by calling (213) 625-7000 x20 or visiting www.eastwestplayers.org. Senior, student and group discounts are available.
Sweeney Todd is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Sweeney Todd is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Music Theater International, 421 W. 54th St., New York, NY 10019. Tel.: (212) 541-4684, FAX: (212) 397-4684, www.MTIShows.com.