Sweeney Todd opens at Monroe Forum Theatre in NoHo

Sweeney ToddSondheim fans will really enjoy this production.  New to Sondheim, well Kristin Towers-Rowles diection of “Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street” is a great introduction.  She did a pretty terrific if not out right amazing job fitting this production into the small square platform of a theater that is the El Portal.  Meant for the big theatre, this small stage carried the impact in its small footprint.  No mean feat.

The cast is pretty amazing.  Set in Victorian England in the grittier side of town among the poor and barely surviving the story is of a man wrongly accused of a murder and comes back for revenge.  I can’t give much else out without you all calling foul and spoiler.  Its a good story with some interesting twists.  Well worth the time to go see it.

I have to give two specal nods for performances that stole the show.  First was the beggar woman, played by Kendra Munger. She manages to upstage others with her decrepit old hooker  character begging for alms in exchange for “favors”  By far the scene stealer was Alison England who plays Mrs. Lovett the lowly meat pie baker.  Mrs Lovett befriends Todd Sweeney to help him with his plan as well as further her ambition.  A thoroughly enjoyable and wickedly good performance by Ms England.  Loved it.

Sweeney Todd plays at the El Portal in North Hollywood through May 10,2015.  Tickets can be ordered by calling 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111.  El Portal Web Site HERE.

Press Release after the jump.

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street Slices Its Way into Kelrik Productions SWEENEY TODD, the Tony Award-winning musical, sails into the Monroe Forum Theatre

@ El Portal April 10 to May 10, 2015. Based on a version of SWEENEY TODD by Christopher Bond, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, it’s a tragicomic tale of murder, mayhem, and meat pies.

Winner of the Tony Award in 1979, SWEENEY TODD is considered one of Sondheim’s masterpieces and has enjoyed recent revivals and a film by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp. This hauntingly chilling story explores love, loss and blood-soaked revenge. After hard years in exile for a crime he didn’t commit, Sweeney Todd returns to London to find his wife dead and his daughter in the hands of the evil Judge Turpin. In his rage, Sweeney takes his revenge on the populace of London. With the help of his wily neighbour, Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney lures his victims with a charming smile before casually ending their lives with a flick of his razor and has them baked into pies.

“When we do something well known like SWEENEY TODD, We like to approach the work from a completely fresh point of view,” said Erik Austin, Artistic Director of Kelrik Productions “Bringing in guest director Kristin Towers-Rowles, will ensure that any pre-conceived expectations will go out the window.

“When offered to direct SWEENEY TODD, I was thrilled at the opportunity.” exclaimed Kelrik’s Director of Development and Guest Director for Sweeney Todd. “I think Sweeney is one of the most perfect pieces of music theatre in existence. I love the rich complexity of Sweeney as he journeys from hope to despair to revenge in a dark and gritty Victorian playground. In approaching this production, I was drawn to Sondheim’s original impulse to make this show a chamber musical, as opposed to a large sweeping production that first hit Broadway in 1979. This more intimate approach will work superbly to create a beautiful and chilling show. I am also honored to be partnering with Broadway’s Stephanie Fredricks, as my Assistant Director, to bring this show to LA’s intimate theatre seen, at the historic El Portal.”

Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller stars *Douglas Ladnier (Sweeney Todd), *Alison England (Mrs. Lovett), *Matt Steele (Tobias), *Alxander Jon (Anthony), Devon Davidson (Johanna), *Kendra Munger (Beggar Women), *Chuck McCollum (Judge Turpin), *Craig McEldowney (The Beadle) and Mark Rohner (Pirelli). The Ensemble includes Antonio Ardolino, Michael D’Elia , Melinda Ehrlich, Marty Feldman , *Lena Gwendolyn Hill, Rachel Hirshee, Kelly Meyersfield, *Hector S. Quintana and *Anibal Silveyra.

The creative Team includes: Director* Kristin Towers-Rowles, with Music Direction by Joe Lawrence, Assistant Director Stephanie Fredricks, Stage Manager Samantha Marie, Set Design by Erik Austin, Lighting Design by Samantha Marie and Costume Design Michael Mullen.

The original production of SWEENEY TODD opened on Broadway at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) on March 1, 1979 in a production directed by Harold Prince. The musical won eight 1979 Tony Awards including Best Musical of the Year and ran for 557 performances. Tickets to SWEENEY TODD, can be purchased online at www.elportaltheatre.com, by phone at (818) 508-4200. Please note the Kelrik After Dark performance schedule: Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM, Sundays at 7 PM. Ticket are $30. Seating is open and on a first come basis.

SWEENEY TODD is presented as part of Kelrik’s After Dark series. Due to the show’s adult subject matter it is required that audience members under the age of 17 bring a parent or guardian with them to the performance. SWEENEY TODD is the first show of Kelrik’s 2015 CELEBRATE Season. Other shows this season include PINKALICIOUS, ALICE’S WONDROUS ADVENTURE, VIOLET, URINETOWN and RONALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA.

For more information about Kelrik Productions, please visit our website: www.kelrikproductions.org.

* Denotes members of Actor’s Equity Association

SWEENEY TODD April 10 – May 10 Friday & Saturdays @ 8PM, Sundays @ 7PM

ALL SEATS $30 www.elportaltheatre.com (818) 508-4200

Monroe Forum @ El Portal Theatre

5269 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601