Given that my spring break was last week, I took the opportunity to go see Sweeney Todd at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL. The Paramount is an excellent place to go see high-quality shows at a bargain price, particularly for students. Rush tickets, at the door on the day of show with a valid student I.D., are only ten dollars. It’s allowed me to see some amazing shows more than once. Without the student rush pricing, tickets typically run about $60, which is still an incredibly low price for excellent theatre.
The Paramount Theatre does a Broadway Series every year with a four show cycle that goes from September to May. The 2016/2017 season entails Mamma Mia, The Little Mermaid, Sweeney Todd, and Jesus Christ Superstar, so it has had a lot of great moments. While Mamma Mia and The Little Mermaid have past, Sweeney Todd is currently running through the 19th of March, and Jesus Christ Superstar will begin April 19th and run through May 28th. I will definitely be in attendance of the next show on the list because while I may not love that particular show, the Paramount always produces such good performances that any show is worth seeing. Here is the montage the Paramount released for the show!
Sweeney Todd, a Sondheim musical, follows (not surprisingly) Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, on his determined path for revenge. Through the macabre subject matter, beautiful and haunting music swells through that leads the audience to feel for the anti-hero that is Todd. Of those helping the demon barber, Mrs. Lovett proves to be a voice of suggestion and love for Todd, and provides much needed comic relief throughout the show. Through Todd’s revenge plot against the Judge who took his wife and daughter from him, as well as his desire to take his daughter back from the Judge, the plot unfolds in a dramatic and dark way.
The Paramount’s production starred Paul Jordan-Jansen as Sweeney and Bri Sudia as Mrs. Lovett. The duo commanded the stage together. Jordan-Jansen was dark and twisted in his portrayal, while Sudia mastered the art of dark comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed watching both of them, particularly Sudia. Mrs. Lovett is an amazing part, but so often it can be overdone. Sudia provided a balanced yet hilarious view of the baker, and she was one of my favorite parts of the show. The duo singing “Have a Little Priest” to end the first act was timed and portrayed to perfection.
The set was incredible. It was three levels with a screen background that changed throughout the show. The levels were made out of metal grate with stairs going between them. The Paramount stage is tall but it does not have a lot of depth, and they really utilized the space in this show. The changing background was intensely important whenever something important occurred, and it set the dark atmosphere to backdrop the story. Between the set and the amazing orchestra, the stage aspects were well executed (no pun intended) and tied everything together extremely well.
Overall, I loved the show. Sweeney Todd is a difficult show and the ensemble put on a wonderful performance. Any qualms that I had were small and not really worth mentioning, as none were a good enough reason to not see this show. The Paramount continuously puts on amazing productions, and as always, I look forward to any and all upcoming seasons.