Fifth-year St. Thomas University student Lucas Gutiérrez-Robert said getting to play the role of Sweeney Todd in STU Musical Theatre’s upcoming production is like getting asked to play the next Marvel superhero.
“For me, it’s been a wonderful opportunity because I’ve never played this big of a role before,” said Gutiérrez-Robert.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will play from Feb. 19 to 23 in the Black Box Theatre. It’s a famous dark and twisted tale of love and revenge.
The musical is based in Victorian London in the 1840s. It tells the story of a barber who was exiled for a crime he did not commit. The judge who exiled him, Judge Turpin, has a passionate lust for the man’s wife, so it’s believed that was the real reason for his exile. After 15 years, the man returns as the evil Sweeney Todd who seeks revenge. He reopens his barbershop and kills customers with his razor, waiting for the day he gets the chance to kill Judge Turpin.
Gutiérrez-Robert has been acting since he joined Theatre New Brunswick at the age of six.
The play is vocally challenging with music that is intricate and demanding. He said he drinks lots of tea and honey in preparation for the intense vocal ranges he will sing.
“It’s a massive challenge to take on the music. This music makes all the other shows look incredibly easy.”
Cast member Megan Murphy, a Grade 12 student at Fredericton High School, is thrilled to be doing something a little different and more challenging this year.
Murphy plays the role of Tobias, a little boy who is the assistant of Sweeney Todd’s rival Pirelli.
“I love it. It’s been a really great experience and Sweeny Todd is a really exciting show,” said Murphy.
“The subject matter is a lot darker than any show I’ve ever done which is really exciting as an actor.”
Gutiérrez-Robert has done seven productions with STU Musical Theatre. In previous years at STU he has played roles such as Amos Hart in Chicago and Racetrack in Newsies.
Gutiérrez-Robert said preparing for the role of Sweeney Todd has been a great experience to gain before he attends acting school next year. He has auditions with George Brown Theatre School, Randolph College and École nationale de théâtre du Canada.
Tania Breen is the play’s director while Ross Simonds is the musical director of the production.
Gutiérrez-Robert said he’s been working with Breen since he was six, when he joined Theatre New Brunswick.
“Working with Tania [Breen] is always a treat,” he said.
Gutiérrez-Robert said the cast is thrilled to perform this musical and hope all will attend.
“There are quite a few really powerful, full-cast numbers and it’s just always great to see everyone having fun together.”
“The set is gorgeous, the band is phenomenal and we can guarantee that you are going to have a good time.”
Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday. On Saturday there will be two shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The final show will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
You can reserve your tickets online or buy them at the door. The cost is $15 for students and $20 for general.