As part of its 2018-19 Broadway Music Series, the Wayne Theatre Alliance is performing the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" as its latest production.

"It's not your typical sunshine musical,"  Director of original programming Hank Fitzgerald said of the play.

Written by Stephen Songheim, " Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"   is one of Fitzgerald's all-time favorites.

It remains at the top of his list because of the show's musical score, dark comedic style, and the touching message that it has for the audience, he said.

Fitzgerald has had success with this show in the past, when he directed a performance of it for ShenanArts 10 years ago to a sold-out crowd.

Fans of the 2007 movie of the same name, starring Johnny Depp as the title character, will find the stage performance to be similar. However, Fitzgerald said, much of the content from the original work was removed for the screen production.

"They took a lot of stuff out of the original musical [for the movie]," Fitzgerald said, "and so it's a little different, not as dark as the movie."

The Wayne Theatre's list of shows, including "Sweeney Todd," is decided by a committee of the theatrical company's artistic staff. "Sweeney Todd" was selected becasue of its high standards for vocalists and advanced technical aspects and various set changes.

"We have actors coming almost from an hour away to perform because it's such a vocally demanding show," Fitzgerald said.

The technical side, on the other hand, is complicated because there are several set changes. These set changes are achieved through the frequent movement of set pieces on and off of the stage from a myriad of angles, and some of the performers will disappear through a chute out of sight of the audience.

Fitzgerald emphasized that, while the show is not reccommended for children, the violence is tastefully done in a way that adds to a tragicomic atmosphere.

"Come out for an evening of adventure and to be on the edge of your seat," Fitzgerald said.

Tracy Straight, the Executive Director of Wayne Theatre, descirbed the musical as "a story of love, obsession and revenge."

"It has a great moral that should be on everyone's must-see list," she said.

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