So what a pleasure it was to see Musical Theatre West's production... a Sweeney the way I'd always wanted to see it performed - gritty, eerie, and with completely INCREDIBLE performances! First of all, the scenery was amazing! Musical Theatre West has some of the nicest sets in LA! The only thing that might have been a little distracting at times were the men who came on stage to turn the set (but it was really a minor thing compared to gorgeousness of the set itself.)
Norman Large was fantastic as Sweeney... Such a HUGE departure from anything I've seen him do in the past (which was basically the father in Meet Me in St. Louis & Major-General in Pirates...) So I have to say that I was incredibly impressed by his dramatic talent! He was eerie, and heartbreaking and what I loved most about his Sweeney was the humor that he brought to the role. Just incredible in every sense of the word.
Debbie Pruttsman was hysterical as Mrs. Lovett! Loved not only her comedic timing, but I loved that her performance (unlike any other Mrs. Lovett's that I've seen) I could see a real love for Sweeney and a tenderness for him. It's easy to turn Mrs. Lovett into a sort of caricature and play her too boldy, but I think that Ms. Pruttsman had the right amount of "heart" for the role that made her a sympathetic character and one that we could see loving Sweeney.
Michelle (AMAZING as hell) Duffy was,... well... AMAZING as hell! Her beggar woman was the funniest, zaniest, most heartbreaking that I have ever seen! Michelle is completely INCREDIBLE in the role and not one moment goes by in the show where she is onstage and we don't notice her. Even playing a crazy woman, Michelle proves that she has extreme stage presence!
Dan Callaway was just SO endearing as Anthony! Truly one of the best Anthony's I've ever seen. His boyish good looks and AMAZING voice just add to his incredible portrayal. I've seen Dan before in "Pippin" but I really felt they under-utilized him in that show - he was the voice of Charles the Great and spent most of his time off-stage or in shadows. :( This show finally gave him the spotlight he deserved. :) And yes,... he's Heather's hubby, but I'm not biased at all! :)
And Jim Holdridge as Tobias was just incredible... I admit to never having seen Jim in a dramatic role as well (saw him as Toad in A Year with Frog & Toad and in Life Could Be A Dream) so seeing him play Tobias was a stark contrast to his previous roles. I have to say, though that he was perfect for the role - innocent, eccentric, and heartbreaking.
The entire cast was amazing! I truly think that MTW is the "Broadway" of Los Angeles theatre... I have not been to a single production there that didn't truly blow me away. The sets, the costumes, the talent of the casts... just remarkable!
After the show I got to speak with Steve for a while... which was so lovely. What I truly love about speaking with Steve is that it's really like speaking with an old friend. He has never once has spoken to me like a fan and for that, I will always be grateful to him. And speaking of Steve,... I miss Bets!
Got to speak with Michelle who is just the most gracious person. Told her how incredibly amazing I thought her performance was and she seemed to be really touched by the compliment. The thing that I love about Michelle is how freaking talented she is, but she doesn't even seem to know it. It's ALWAYS such a pleasure to see her!
Got to see Ronn Goswick there... who I adore and miss terribly from those Valley Musical Theatre days. It must be a couple of years since I've seen him and it was wonderful to run in to him at MTW! :)
I only was able to get a couple of photos that day, partially because I never feel right bringing out my camera - partially because I enjoy the talking and interaction much more than taking pictures. But I did get a couple. :)
With the talented Jim Holdridge! And why yes, he does look like a rock star in it. :)
With the AMAZING Michelle Duffy! She's one of the most gracious people I've met in LA theatre. :)
So that was Sweeney, I shall be back to post about my adventures at the LA Street Food Festival (and finally finding the Buttermilk Truck!) Hope you all are having a nice week! :)