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‘Sweeney Todd’ Staged By West Liberty University’s Hilltop Opera

From left, cast members at a rehearsal of West Liberty University’s Hilltop Opera production of “Sweeney Todd” include, from left, Grant Van Camp, Isaac Cardot, Zach Ziolkowski, Josie Jarrett and Hayden Heiserman.

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University’s Hilltop Opera, in partnership with Striplight Community Theatre, will present “Sweeney Todd: in Concert” at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Ashley Marie Performing Arts Center, 2850 Weir Ave., Weirton.

“This is a semi-staged concert version of the popular musical by Stephen Sondheim, with orchestral accompaniment,” explained Hilltop Opera Director Linda Cowan-Youssef. “This is the first partnership between WLU and Striplight.”

Junior Hayden Heiserman of Weirton will have the title role, and senior Josie Jarrett of Moundsville will play his partner-in-crime, Mrs. Lovett.

An infamous tale, Sweeney Todd is an unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London, seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife.

The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which, he opens a new barber practice. Mrs. Lovett’s luck sharply shifts when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up.

Featuring some of the most chilling music ever written for the stage, this masterpiece is sure both to thrill and delight audiences.

Other cast members, hometowns and roles include: Glory Dami of Steubenville, the Beggar Woman; Michael Murphy of Martins Ferry, the Judge; Zach Ziolkowski of Wheeling, Anthony; Emma Gragan of Burgettstown, Pa., Johanna; Isaac Cardot of Petersburg, W.Va., Tobias; Keenan Seditz of Steubenville, the Beadle; and Grant Van Camp of Wellsburg, the barber Pirelli.

This version of “Sweeney Todd” also features chorus members Jessica Bocook, Madison Bolyard, Callia Byard, Rose Cunningham, Odessa Hores, Cheyenne Morris, Leslie Rawlings, Shannon Shiflett, Doug Torres, Autumn Carver, Merritt Craft, Morgan Dobbs, Ally Hager and Alex Staub. Set design is by Shawn Holmes and lighting design by Ruth Comley.

“Fans of the movie and stage versions take note: concert versions like this performance feature all the beautiful music and dialogue of the original play, without the gore featured in the movie version,” said Cowan.

“Sweeney Todd” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

For ticket reservations, please visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4509999 or call Michele Crow at 304-336-8006, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Hilltop Opera is just one performance option for students at WLU. Other performance opportunities for music students include the Marching Hilltoppers, the Wind Symphony, WLU Singers, University Band, Choral Scholars, African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, Community Choir, Steel Bands, Jazz Combos, Percussion Ensemble and the Electronic Music Ensemble.

WLU’s Department of Music and Theater is housed within the College of Arts and Communication led by College Dean Dr. Matthew Harder. It offers bachelor of music degrees in music performance and music technology and the bachelor of arts degree in music education. Students also may choose to minor in music.

For complete information on the Department of Music, please visit westliberty.edu/music or call 304-336-8006.

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