Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Takes on Ward Melville


Leah Cussen, Staff Writer

This past week, the Ward Melville High School Music Department and Players performed this year’s musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The show follows the story of Sweeney Todd (Shawn Brennan) as he returns to London after being banished by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Ryan Carlozzo) who wanted to pursue his wife Lucy (Julia LaRotonda).

Todd returns with a young sailor called Anthony (Dylan Buzzanca) and meets Mrs. Lovett (Lexi Salerno) in her failing meat pie shop who informs him that his wife Lucy poisoned herself after being sexually assaulted by the Judge and that their infant daughter Johanna (Sam Hozven) is now the Judge’s ward. Todd then swears revenge on the Judge.

Todd is given the opportunity to kill Judge Turpin, but is unfortunately interrupted, causing him to lose his chance. Todd then makes the decision to kill every customer who comes through his shop. Mrs. Lovett comes up with the plan to use the flesh of Todd’s victims in her pies, to which he happily agrees. Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop begins to have great success. Anthony discovers that Johanna has been locked away in an insane asylum and plans to free her. Todd writes a letter to Judge Turpin exposing Anthony’s plan, in the hopes of gaining his trust back. Anthony saves Johanna from the madhouse.

While Johanna hides in Todd’s barbershop, a crazy beggar woman comes in, causing Johanna to hide. Todd kills her, sending her down the chute into the bakeshop. The Judge then enters, giving Todd the opportunity to finally kill him. Johanna comes out of her hiding place, and runs away before Todd can kill her, too, for he does not recognize her as his daughter.

Todd then enters the bakeshop, finally recognizing the beggar woman as his former wife, Lucy. Mrs. Lovett reveals that she lied to him about Lucy being dead because she loved him herself. Todd shoves Mrs. Lovett into the giant oven, killing her. Tobias (Conor Heaphy), a waiter in the bakeshop, then enters, picks up Todd’s razor and cuts Todd’s throat.

The show is one that will certainly make the viewer question their own beliefs, as it follows a murderous protagonist. On playing an arguably evil character, Shawn Brennan recalls having to find unique ways to relate to Todd in order to portray him correctly. “Sweeney Todd is mentally broken, in almost every way imaginable. In order to understand him and personally justify his (or on stage, my) actions, I had to find a very dark part of my mind and force it to come out…”

Off stage, however, the mood between fellow cast members was much less intense. Julia LaRotonda says that the some of her favorite parts about the show were “…getting to know new people and talking with people I haven’t seen in a while and just getting to make wonderful memories.”

The show will be remembered by all who saw it, with eye-catching scenery, costumes, music, and an incredibly talented and devoted cast and crew.