At first glance, Sweeney Todd appears to be a gruesome show. However, lying just below the surface is a world of forbidden romance, selfless sacrifice, and pure love. Ashleigh Williams, the director of the PPP’s upcoming spring musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, says defending someone you love is the consistent theme throughout the show.
As the show opens, the audience learns that Todd has just escaped from an Australian jail as a result of being wrongly imprisoned by Judge Turpin. The Judge fell in love with Sweeney’s wife, so he sent Todd away to pursue his spouse. If this wasn’t enough, the Judge also takes in Todd’s daughter, Johanna, as his ward and begins to lust after her. It is Todd’s love and longing for his wife and daughter that give him strength to find his way back to London and find the Judge. He seeks justice for his family and for his lost love. Todd’s murderous ambition is justified, and the townspeople eventually find themselves sympathizing with him. Todd, in an odd, offbeat way, is a very relatable character. “Pain and love can make people do crazy things and anyone can experience those emotions, whether the hero or the villain,” says the PPP’s own Sweeney Todd, Rodney McKinner. “This doesn’t make Sweeney the villain, it justs makes him human.” Though the musical is filled with Todd’s revenge, he may be the true victim.
Tickets are on sale now for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The musical runs February 22-March 10 at the Poplar Pike Playhouse on the campus of Germantown High School. Visit ppp.org, or call PPP Box Office at (901) 755-7775 for more information. Follow the PPP on Facebook (@poplarpikeplayhouse) or Twitter (@ppptheatre) for updates and special coupon codes.