University of Redlands
School of Performing Arts
SWEENEY TODD AUDITIONS
Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Gregory Ramos
Musical Direction by Joe Modica
Performances Mar 9-12 and Mar 16-19, 2023
Audition dates: October 6, 6pm-10pm
October 7, 6pm-10pm
Callback date: October 8, 10am-2pm
Location: Room 210 Theatre Arts Building
Please prepare audition pieces from a contemporary opera or musical theatre show.
16 bars of an uptempo (character piece) and 16 bars of a ballad
32 bars that best show off your voice.
Please familiarize yourself with the show and the music PRIOR to auditioning!!!!
Students cast in the show will enroll this fall 2022 in MUS 139-01. This course meets
TR 4:05-5:20, beginning Oct 13. Actors will learn show music during this class time.
Regular rehearsals begin at start of Spring semester on January 9 and will continue Monday-Thursday evenings (with some Friday evenings) and Saturday afternoons.
The show will also perform at the University of Redlands Marin campus in May 2023. Students in the production may enroll in a May semester course.
One of the darkest musicals ever written, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the unsettling tale of a Victorian-era barber who returns home to London after fifteen years of exile to take revenge on the corrupt judge who ruined his life. When revenge eludes him, Sweeney swears vengeance on the entire human race, murdering as many people as he can, while his business associate Mrs. Lovett bakes the bodies into meat pies and sells them to the unsuspecting public. Perhaps composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s most perfect score, Sweeney Todd is lush, operatic, and full of soaring beauty, pitch-black comedy and stunning terror. It’s one of the signal achievements of the American musical theater of the last fifty years, and it’s the high-water mark of Sondheim’s six remarkable collaborations with director Harold Prince. The show received 8 Tony Awards, including best musical, 9 Drama Desk Awards, and the Olivier Award for best musical.
In reference to the character descriptions below: The characters as written are on the binary with he/him or she/her pronouns, as indicated in the breakdown. However specific the descriptions are, this production seeks to be as inclusive as possible, and we invite gender non-conforming, genderqueer, transgender and non-binary actors to audition for the roles they most identify with and feel they can fulfill. We are seeking all races and ethnicities. Please refer to AUDITION FORM for guidelines concerning any necessary accommodations for disabilities.
A note about accents: If you’re comfortable performing any of these accents, please let us know at auditions. It will be helpful in the casting process.
Sweeney escaped from prison after being wrongfully accused and jailed for fifteen years. Formerly a proud barber, a loving husband and a happy father, Sweeney is now consumed by loss and revenge. He has returned to London to right the wrongs committed against him, his wife, and his daughter. Sweeney is charming but hot-tempered, ferocious yet vulnerable. Strong baritone/bass who can whistle. Speaks with a London dialect.
Vocal range top: Gb4, Vocal range bottom: F2
A meat pie shop owner who will do whatever it takes to survive. She is in love with Todd and hopes that he’ll forget the past and build a new life with her. At first shocked by Sweeney’s bursts of violence, she turns his desire for revenge into a profitable business venture. Mrs. Lovett is resourceful, ambitious and calculating. Requires an actor with great comedic timing.
Mezzo with belt. Speaks with a Cockney accent.
Vocal range top: E5, Vocal range bottom: G3
A youthful sailor who helps Sweeney return to London and unexpectedly falls in love with Johanna. He is idealistic, romantic and a bit reckless. His passions sometimes get the better of his reason. Over the course of the show he awakens to the horrors around him and becomes disillusioned with London. Tenor. Speaks with a standard British accent.
Vocal range top: F4, Vocal range bottom: Bb2
Todd's long-lost daughter and Judge Turpin's young ward. Homeschooled and largely homebound. She has a rebellious, subversive and romantic streak and longs to escape her confinement. Johanna is aware that Judge Turpin isn’t her real father and suspects him to be dangerous. Like her father, she has experienced trauma and possesses a buried capacity for violence. Although described as “pale” and “yellow haired,” we are not taking this literally in casting considerations. Soprano. Speaks with a standard British accent.
Vocal range top: A5, Vocal range bottom: Bb3
A poor youngster apprenticed first to Pirelli and then to Mrs. Lovett. He is industrious and eager to please, with a good sense of humor. Uneducated, but innately clever and observant, Tobias responds quickly to the kindness of Lovett but grows increasingly suspicious of Sweeney. After a betrayal, Toby experiences the violence and terror of this world and snaps. Tenor. Speaks with a Cockney accent.
Vocal range top: Ab4, Vocal range bottom: Bb2
A lecherous public official who portrays himself as a sanctimonious authoritarian. He takes advantage of his position to imprison Todd, assault Lucy, and take Johanna in as his ward. He is aware that what he’s done is wrong yet chooses to ignore or push against his conscience. Embodies Puritanical hypocrisy: he lusts after Johanna, even as he professes to keep her innocent. Bass/baritone. Speaks with a standard British accent.
Vocal range top: Gb4, Vocal range bottom: E2
A pompous public official who is responsible for the health and safety of London. He possesses a dry, deadpan sense of humor and enjoys wielding his power. He is not a sniveling civil servant. He is deeply loyal to Turpin, though in his heart of hearts he believes he’s better than the judge. The Beadle loves singing children’s nursery rhymes, which remind him of his youth. Tenor with a strong falsetto. Speaks with a standard British accent.
Vocal range top: D5, Vocal range bottom: D3
Beggar Woman/Lucy Barker
An eerie, poor soul living on the streets of London. She supports herself by begging and prostituting herself to sailors. The Beggar Woman is Sweeney’s wife, Lucy, who lost her mind after being assaulted by Turpin and taking poison. She has occasional flashes of lucidity and distrusts Mrs. Lovett. Like the oracle Cassandra, she is the only one who sees what’s happening, but no one will listen to her. Mezzo. Speaks with a Cockney or London accent.
Vocal range top: F5, Vocal range bottom: Ab3
An Irish former employee of Sweeney’s who has since developed a public persona as a flamboyant and flashy world-famous Italian barber. A charlatan who sells fake medicine and challenges other barbers to shaving contests. Pirelli is charming, calculating, and over-the-top comedic. Possess some anti-English sentiments and does not take lightly to being publicly embarrassed by Sweeney.
High tenor. Speaks in both an Italian and Irish accent.
Vocal range top: C5, Vocal range bottom: B2
The owner of Fogg's Asylum. Fogg sells the hair of inmates to wigmakers. Considers the inmates “children” and takes pleasure in showing them off to visitors. Chooses to ignore the human rights of his patients in the name of scientific progress. An authoritarian who is really a coward at heart. Speaking role who sings with the ensemble.
The ensemble, essential to the storytelling, acts as a Greek Chorus, commenting on the action and participating in the tale. They play roles of customers, townspeople, police, inmates at the insane asylum, Sweeney’s thoughts, and Sweeney’s victims. The ensemble gets ample opportunities for vocal challenges and is showcased with solos and harmonies throughout the show. Sopranos, altos, tenors, baritones, and basses. Note: Some characters may double as ensemble.
To sign up for an audition slot please go here:
YOU MUST BRING AN AUDITION FORM TO YOUR AUDITION. PLEASE GO TO THE LINK BELOW AND PRINT OUR YOUR AUDITION FORM.