Love and Revenge; Summerset to perform ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Be careful when eating meat pies and going to get a shave because Sweeney Todd and his friend Mrs. Lovett are coming to Austin!

Summerset Theatre will be performing the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” from July 28-30 and Aug. 2-5. This will be Summerset’s last show of the 50th season.

“One of the reasons we picked ‘Sweeney Todd’ was because it has never been produced in Austin, either at Riverland or Summerset,” said Director Randy Forster. “We looked at it as sort of a challenge and we really thought it would be something entertaining for our 50th season.”

John Deyo is Sweeney Todd in the Summerset Theatre production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which begins Friday. Photos by Eric Johnson/

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The story takes place in 1855 London, where a barber named Benjamin Barker has returned after years in exile. Adopting the name Sweeney Todd, Barker meets Mrs. Lovett, the owner of a struggling pie shop that occupies the space below his old barbershop. Learning the fate of his family after his exile, Todd, with the help of Mrs. Lovett, sets about to take revenge on the lecherous judge that falsely imprisoned him.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” was written by Hugh Wheeler and the play was written by Christopher Bond. Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics.

“The most challenging aspect is the music itself,” Forster said. “If you’re familiar with Stephen Sondheim, he writes lyrics and all sorts of weird notes and chords that are unfamiliar to people’s ears. In some places it’s what we refer to as ‘crunchy’, but there is lots of beautiful music. It’s probably one of the most beautiful scores written for the stage.”

Despite the challenge, Forster said the cast, which includes a mixture of Summerset veterans and new participants, has taken it in stride.

“The cast has adapted wonderfully,” he said. “We have a very talented cast.”

Max Deyo plays Anthony.

One of the most unusual aspects of the show is that the orchestra will be onstage with the actors.

“We’re not hiding the fact that there is an orchestra because the music is such and integral part of the show,” Forster said. “We are highlighting the musicians as much as the singers and actors onstage.”

Due to mature themes and content, the show is recommended for ages 12 and older.

“It’s probably one of the darker shows we’ve done,” Forster said. “But, no actors have been harmed during the making of this production. “

“This is classified as a musical thriller, but deep down it’s a love story,” Forster added. “You’ll see how all of the character love and all of the different reasons why and why it pushes them over the edge to do unspeakable things.”

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” will be performed at 7 p.m. July 28-29 and Aug. 2-5 and at 2 p.m. on July 30 at the Frank W. Bridges Theatre at Riverland Community College. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the Summerset Theatre Box Office in room E107 in Riverland’s east building or online at

For more information, call 507-433-0595 or email