A Simple Haircut
Another upcoming production that I haven’t had the time to make much fuss about is Off The Wall’s upcoming staging of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd. This one has something of an odd history with me personally. Somewhere in Junior High School, I found out that Neil Gaiman was working on a comic book adaptation of this murderous barber from an old penny dreadful called The String of Pearls. Never actually tracked the thing down, but I found out that there had actually been a musical based on the character. I checked out a copy of the musical from the local public library. It was the first one I ever remember seeing all the way through. I loved it. And now nearly twenty years later, I have the opportunity to see not one but TWO local stagings of the musical in the next year or so. Carte Blanche is planning on doing a production at some point in the coming year, but before that, Off The Wall will be presenting its take on the classic tale of a homicidal barber.
What with Off The Wall’s recent history, one might expect Jeremy Welter to play the title character here. He’s been Off The Wall’s resident anti-hero of late . . . but Artistic Director Dale Gutzman seems to have decided to go with someone perhaps more age-appropriate in the role-- Robert Hirschi. (Welter appears here in the role of Beadle Bamford.) Hirschi exists in my memory as a loveable nice guy in a number of roles, only occasionally moving into omething darker. This should be an interesting turn for him. Playing the woman who runs the meat pie shop downstairs is frequent Off The Wall actress Marilyn White.
Don’t look for a classic visual period representation of the musical here. Off The Wall’s best approach here would be to amp-up the moodiness of the piece in the intimate confines of the tiny studio space across the street from the Pabst Theatre.
Off The Wall Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd runs July 23rd - August 8th.