Production

Local theater group’s spooky Halloween production to open next week

Jason Koon Screenwriter

What’s more between October and Halloween than a good old-fashioned revenge story? Nothing, according to Edyth Potter Pruitt, general manager of the Old Colony Players.

For seven nights in October, the Old Colony Players will present ‘Sweeney Todd: The Barber Demon of Fleet Street’ at the Fred B. Cranford Amphitheater in Valdese. Potter Pruitt will set aside his duties as general manager for a few hours each night and join the cast as Mrs. Lovett, downstairs neighbor and accomplice to murderer Todd.

“It’s not for children under 13,” Potter Pruitt said. “It contains mature themes, but it’s perfect for Halloween.”

Joining her will be Ken Davis, playing the eponymous barber, a man armed with a straight razor and bent on revenge after losing his family and 15 years of his life in a penal colony to the crooked Judge Turpin.

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“Sweeney Todd is a character I’ve wanted to try since I started in theater after seeing the original production,” Davis said. “He’s by far the most challenging and complex character I’ve ever played. The character is so dynamic. The music is also incredibly challenging and rich. His emotions swing wildly; one moment he’s on the floor trying to to cry because of his grief, and the next, ready to kill everyone in a split second.

Potter Pruitt said Davis most recently appeared for OCP as Pontius Pilate in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and has directed several productions. Most recently, he directed this summer’s production of “From This Day Forward” for the band.

Davis and Potter Pruitt are part of a 25-member cast that also includes Andrew Casturao as Judge Turpin and 10-year-old Braiden Bell as Tobias.

“He’s 10 years old, but he’s phenomenal singing this incredibly intense and complex music,” Potter Pruitt said of Bell.

The production is helmed by Derek Long who helmed production on “Elf, The Musical” last year.

Potter Pruitt said that despite the dark and violent themes of the show, the evening will also feature some of the finest musical theater to offer.

“It’s one of (Stephen Sondheim’s) greatest works,” said Potter Pruitt. “The music is some of the most empowering and beautiful music Sondheim has ever written.”

Sondheim was a prolific composer well known for musical theater productions such as “Into the Woods”, “West Side Story” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” as well as “Sweeney Todd”.

In addition to spooky fun and top-notch music, Potter Pruitt said the show will also feature elaborate special effects.

“We’re going to have a barber chair that drops through a platform,” she said. “A lot of special effects, fog machines, special lighting, all that sort of thing.”

She said the team also built a giant meat grinder specifically for the production.

The Old Colony Players will perform “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” on October 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. Performances will take place at the Fred B. Cranford Amphitheater. at 401 Church St. NW in Valdese.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors over 60, and $14 for students, including college students. The production is rated PG-13 due to the violence and mature subject matter. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.oldcolonyplayers.com.

Jason Koon is editor and can be reached at [email protected]