“Sweeney Todd” takes the stage at Big Spring


McKenzie Henry, Reporter

Despite Big Spring Theater Production’s usual family friendly titles, this year there will be a demon barber coming to the high school. The musical chosen this year, “Sweeney Todd”,  is something completely different than anything ever performed at Big Spring. This show is full of alluring music with a dark and edgy atmosphere, according to director Chad Feeser, who also said, “The high school has done a lot of family friendly, lighthearted shows, but there’s so much more to musical theater than that.” Feeser believes that the theater students here at Big Spring deserve the entire experience. Some members of the community spoke to the school trying to change the show, but through all the efforts to change the spring musical, Feeser stated that, “In the end, the reasons to do the show far outweigh the reason not to.”

Sweeney Toddis about a man who is actually named Benjamin Barker. He’s a barber who not only cuts hair, but uses a straight razor to shave his customers. Sweeney Todd was sent away by a judge who coveted his wife, a wife who ultimately went insane and as a result, his daughter stayed with the judge instead of coming to him. Now Sweeney Todd is back from his exile seeking revenge on the judge in hopes of getting his daughter back. This “Turns into a total bloodbath by the end of the show.” Feeser revealed.

When it comes to creating the musical Sweeney Todd there are many things that go on behind the scenes unknown to the public. Sweeney Todd is portrayed by Big Spring seniors Tyler Bennett and Phillip Barrick as the production this year is double cast. There are a total of 60 students involved with the cast, crew, and pit orchestra. Feeser said,“It’s difficult when somebody’s double cast, because that does cause drama, but not with these guys. They’re totally professional.” Bennett said, “You don’t get the individualized attention that you normally get” as someday’s he would just sit around watching the other person do the act, but double casting the musical does give every student a chance to be center stage.

Besides the fact that the musical is double cast, the show also consists of many other difficulties such as the musical ballads that need memorized and the creation of Sweeney Todd’s infamous barber chair. The man who composed the music for this musical, Stephen Sondheim, created, according to Chad Feeser, “A very very difficult musical to learn, but once the performers get it down, it will sound amazing in the the end.” With the music being difficult to memorize, it also has a huge impact on the acting portion of the musical as well. Bennett said, ”Trying to focus on people being safe going down the chair, and dealing with interactions with other characters, and remembering lyrics at the same time has just been a total train wreck.” Even Barrick, an actor and former member of the pit orchestra said, “The musical this year, hands down, is the hardest musical I’ve ever been a part of.”

Sweeney Todd’s barber chair was created for this production by Bennett and his father. The chair took the Bennett family nearly 5 weeks to complete with many trial and error complications, but Sweeny’s chair was created successfully for the musical and will be revealed to the public at the premiere of Sweeney Todd Apr. 7 at 7 pm.