Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-14
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Sweeney Todd
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics), Hugh Wheeler (book). At: Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace. Tickets: 630-530-0111;; $35-$46. Runs through: Oct. 9

If you love Sweeney Todd, do not wait: rush, rush, rush to see this production. If you know Sweeney Todd only from Tim Burton's stylish but woefully misinterpreted film, do not wait: rush to see this production. If you've only seen Sweeney Todd in the opera house, or in the eccentric reduction in which 12 actors played all the roles and musical instruments, or even in Porchlight Music Theatre's intimate staging, then rush to see this production.

Drury Lane has rendered Sweeney Todd as it is meant to be: a full-blooded (no pun intended), complex and gripping work of musical theater—NOT opera, thanks very much—brought richly to life in a lavish-yet-stark staging with no corners cut. Rachel Rockwell is the praiseworthy director and choreographer of the 27-person cast, with astonishing musical direction by Roberta Duchak. Clocking at two hours and 45 minutes (with intermission), this taut production is true to the Sondheim-Wheeler original in every word spoken and note sung, and faithful to Jonathan Tunick's brilliant original orchestrations, even reduced for a nine-piece orchestra (outstanding under conductor Ben Johnson). Downplaying the show's early industrial age conceits, Rockwell chooses to emphasize the ageless and more universal plague of corrupt justice.

Broadway veterans Greg Edelman and Liz McCartney take possession of Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett, exhibiting exuberant vocal and acting chops. Tall, lean Edelman as inwardly focused Todd—who often smiles but rarely laughs, the lyrics say—lets us observe Sweeney's fervid calculations in which a compulsion for revenge yields to something much darker and damning. McCartney has the insouciance for Mrs. Lovett's comic turns and yet she, too, easily lets us observe Lovett's own calculating and capitalistic desires.

They are supported by leading Chicago players, all in top form: veterans Kevin Gudahl (Judge Turpin), George Keating (Pirelli), Heidi Kettenring (Beggar Woman) and George Andrew Wolff (Beadle Bamford) along with relative new-comers Emily Rohm (Johanna), William Travis Taylor (Anthony) and Jonah Rawitz, a real boy playing the boy Toby and singing as a boy soprano.

The production designs also are exceptional, with a long, linear two-level set slashing diagonally across the stage from audience left to far off-stage on the right. Even the lighting grid becomes part of it. For the pie and barber shops, scenic designer Kevin Depinet borrows with variations the cube concept of the original production. The visual elements are completed by Jesse Klug's surprisingly hot lighting, Mike Tutaj's blood-dripping projections and Theresa Ham's wonderfully textured and detailed costumes (which set the time period in the 1840s) amplified by Rick Jarvie's wig and make-up designs.

Simply no question about it: this Sweeney Todd is a show of superlatives offering sensational bang for modest bucks. If you've never trekked out to Oakbrook Terrace, this is your reason. Really.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


THEATER REVIEW Plantation! 2018-03-14
THEATER REVIEW Kingdom 2018-03-14
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Nine 10-minute plays about lesbians 2018-03-14
THEATER REVIEW You for Me for You 2018-03-14
'Faust' thru March 21 at Lyric Opera 2018-03-14
Wonka Ball on May 11 at MBC 2018-03-14
'Model' winner DiMarco at ISU on March 29 2018-03-14
THEATER REVIEW The Condition of Femme 2018-03-14
Opera looks at Lavender Scare 2018-03-14
Xfinity, Tom Lenk part of Center's 'A Night with Oscar' 2018-03-14
THEATER REVIEW Time Is on Our Side 2018-03-14
ENTERTAINMENT Chicago Magic Lounge putting a spell on guests 2018-03-13
THEATER REVIEW Cyrano 2018-03-11
THEATER REVIEW You for Me for You 2018-03-10
GUEST COLUMN For theater critics, diversity, cultural connection imperative 2018-03-07
THEATER Love, magic combine for gay seniors of Kingdom 2018-03-07
THEATER Critics' Picks 2018-03-07
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Sondheim's Divas 2018-03-07
THEATER About Face drama looks to future while facing the past 2018-03-07
Genderqueer 'Monopoly Man' Amanda Werner on breaking barriers 2018-03-06
THEATER REVIEW Schiller's Mary Stuart 2018-03-05
THEATER REVIEW Anna Karenina 2018-03-05
THEATER REVIEW Hail, Hail Chuck, A Tribute to Chuck Berry 2018-03-05
THEATER 'The Condition of Femme' delves into stories of abuse and survival 2018-02-28
THEATER REVIEW Surely Goodness and Mercy 2018-02-28
THEATER Critics' Picks 2018-02-28
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Love Never Dies, sequel to The Phantom of the Opera 2018-02-28
THEATER REVIEW The Wolves 2018-02-28
'History Lezons' March 18, 20-21 2018-02-28
THEATER 'The Burn' fuses bullying, identity 2018-02-28
Storytelling class for women of color 2018-02-28
Sidetrack's OUTspoken Series, March's featured storytellers 2018-02-28
NUNN ON ONE PERFORMANCE Chatting with the multilingual Matteo Lane 2018-02-27
THEATER REVIEW Six Corners 2018-02-27
Black history program examines activism through storytelling 2018-02-27
'RuPaul's Drag Race' cast revealed 2018-02-26
THEATER REVIEW Southern Gothic 2018-02-23
THEATER SPOTLIGHT The Burn 2018-02-21
THEATER REVIEW Breach: a manifesto on race in America... 2018-02-21
THEATER REVIEW Moon for the Misbegotten 2018-02-21

Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.