Pacific Opera Project brings operatic intensity to Sondheim’s thriller – just in time for Halloween
Now concluding its first full season, Pacific Opera Project has demonstrated a commitment to producing high-quality theatrical entertainment with low price tags. Bringing opera to non-traditional audiences — often for just the price of a movie ticket — is a major aim for this energetic new enterprise, and they have used crossover works from the musical theater genre such as Bernstein’sTrouble in Tahiti to get people in the doors, and then brought them back to see more conventional operas like Mozart’s Don Giovanni. But there is nothing conventional about the way POP does opera. Whether they are presenting a cabaret in a black box with piano or grand opera in full costume with orchestral complement, co-directors Josh Shaw (Artistic Director) and Stephen Karr (Music Director) don’t settle for anything less than excellence from curtain to closing.
Their biggest undertaking yet, POP is presenting a visceral thriller in two blood-curdling, barbarous acts: Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. The production features two outstanding casts who have appeared at such places as Chautauqua Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, The Glimmerglass Festival, Indianapolis Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, on television and on Broadway.
POP is presenting the show at two of its favorite venues, with five performances at the Porticoes Theater in Pasadena and four at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, so whether you’re on the Eastside or the Westside, there is a convenient venue for you to experience the psychological drama that has been captivating audiences for decades.
Performed with operatic voices and live orchestra, POP will present this musical drama in all its grisly glory. The show is designed and directed by Josh Shaw, conducted by Stephen Karr, with a cast featuring bass-baritone Phil Meyer as the demonic barber and mezzo-soprano Amanda Carlin as the doting baker, Mrs. Lovett. Baritone Timothy Campbell plays the young Anthony Hope, and his darling Johanna is performed by Hallie Silverston. E. Scott Levin returns to the POP stage as Judge Turpin with another POP veteran, Robert Norman as his Beadle. Rounding out the cast is Rachel Payne (Beggar Woman), Eddie Sayles (Tobias Ragg), Alex Rodin Mendoza (Pirelli) and David Fetterman (Jonas Fogg). The alternate cast will give two performances (October 26 and November 2), and features Art Miller (Sweeney), Alexis Wesley (Lovett), Emma-Grace Dunbar (Johanna), Christopher Remmel (Turpin), Micheal Lee Smith (Beadle), Emily Works (Beggar Woman) and Kyle Patterson (Tobias Ragg).
With a special midweek performance on Halloween night, costumed interlopers en route to wilder activities should stop in for a thrill. There will be prizes given at intermission for the best costumed audience member. Meat-pies sold at intermission may include the “Vegetarian”, the “Agent” and the “Surfer”.
Accompanied by chamber orchestra. Tickets $30 for General Admission, $25 for Santa Monica Residents at the Miles (use code SMRESIDENT), and $20 for students and seniors available online at www.pacificoperaproject.com or by calling 323-739-6122.
Who: Pacific Opera Project: Los Angeles’s most accessible opera company; committed to fully professional productions of worthy masterpieces and daring new works of opera and musical theater produced with artists of the highest caliber in diverse venues.
What: Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: A Musical Thriller. Presented fully staged with orchestra.
When: Porticoes Theatre, 2033 E. Washington Blvd. Pasadena
October 20 8pm, October 21 4pm, October 26 8pm, October 27 8pm, October 28 4pm
The Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd.Santa Monica
October 31 8pm (costumes encouraged), November 2 8pm, November 3 8pm, November 4 4pm
Cover cast will perform on October 26 and November 2.