Sweeney Todd showcases synergy of music and theatreMarch 1, 2006
Sweeney Todd is no ordinary production, but Cornell’s Lyric Theatre is no ordinary company. During Block 5 each year, Cornell’s music and theatre departments combine to produce ambitious works of opera and musical theater, and Sweeney Todd provided a formidable challenge to all involved.
“The show is a tour-de-force for performers at any level,” says musical director Jonathon Thull, “and the technical demands of the show were wonderfully realized by the theatre department’s production staff. They presented a stunning visual canvas for the students to engage the utmost of their singing and acting abilities.”
Thull notes that the show, like all Cornell theatre and music performances, allowed performance majors to work with non-majors from a wide range of disciplines in all aspects of the production. He adds that the block plan allows for an intense immersion into a process much like professional summer-stock work.
“Sweeney Todd was one of the most satisfying theatrical experiences that I have encountered so far in my career,” says theatre major Ellen Kirk. “The production challenged the company with unusual language, mysterious characters, and complex musical arrangements while encouraging us to push ourselves beyond what we thought we were capable of.”
“Not only was I pushed harder than I have ever been pushed in regards to character acting,” adds music major Erin Prall, “but finding a voice for my character to sing with was even more challenging. I had to step outside my box and realize that not all singing should be absolutely perfect when trying to portray a particular character.”
Lyric Theatre has since tackled other challenging projects, including Little Shop of Horrors in 2008, and Cabaret in 2009
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