Meet The Actors of Sweeney Todd

Davaldo_Dustin Gimenez_Mia FryvecindSweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert opens Friday! Before you see them on stage, we thought you’d like to meet the actors behind two of Stephen Sondheim’s most memorable characters: Dustin Davaldo, who plays the title role, and Mia Fryvecind Gimenez, who plays Mrs. Lovett, Todd’s partner in crime.

We can confidently say that you’re going to be impressed by their vocals. Both studied opera at the University of Iowa, more than a decade apart. Gimenez went on to perform with Chicago Light Opera before moving to San Francisco, where she thrived in the musical theatre scene for 15 years before returning to Iowa City.  Davaldo, although extremely appreciative of all he learned, claims he never really liked opera, and his first love has always been musical theatre. Sweeney Todd, he thinks, is the perfect combination of the two – an operatic musical! He describes the role of Sweeney as “the role of a lifetime,” and feels privileged to have the opportunity to play him, especially in this production, with a full orchestra and a cast that is overflowing with extraordinary talent.

Gimenez, having played the Beggar Woman in a California production of Sweeney, says she’d never considered being cast as Mrs. Lovett. “The woman who played Lovett when I played the Beggar Woman was so amazing, I just couldn’t see myself doing it.  But the day of auditions, it occurred to me to try,” her infectious laugh rings out, “Why not, right?”

Both actors agree that this version of the show is unlike any Sweeney you’ve seen before. It is often played with a scaled-down chorus, and the orchestrations are adapted for a small combo. This concert version will be done with a full orchestra on stage, and a cast of nearly forty performers. The spectacle will be the music, the lyrics, the beautiful orchestrations. It’s going to sound incredible, but it will also put the focus on the story, without the distraction of complicated sets or special effects.  Music Director Carl Rowles has assembled a top-notch orchestra to support the amazing cast. “Carl is relentlessly devoted to perfecting Sondheim’s music,” said Davaldo. “I’m a musician first, so to perform this piece with the full orchestra is thrilling.”

Having trained in opera, it’s not the singing that these two find most challenging, despite the notoriously difficult Sondheim score (ask someone in musical theatre Stephen Sondheim’s middle name!). Gimenez finds the patter songs and the amount of dialogue the biggest challenge to playing Mrs. Lovett. That and “finding the demon inside me,” she jokes. Mrs. Lovett’s mix of flirtatious fun, absolute pragmatism and complete lack of any moral compass is tough to convey, but Gimenez makes it look easy.  Davaldo, too, finds the acting more difficult than the singing. He says he doesn’t have much experience doing plays, only musicals, so “I was always able to fall back on my voice.” He credits the show’s director, Mark Christopher Baer, with helping him to make Todd “more three-dimensional, less internal. I’ve had to learn how to feel the entire spectrum of Todd’s emotions, like a real person.”

When asked about his favorite moments in the show, Davaldo says he really enjoys “Epiphany,” which allows him to “channel all of my energy into one song, and then be utterly exhausted at the end of it.” He also cites great performances by others in the cast. He says he laughs out loud every time Michael Penick (Anthony) and Maya Bassuk (Johanna) rehearse “Kiss Me,” though he’s seen it countless times. Rob Kemp (Pirelli), Anna Anderson (Beggar Woman) and the other leads are “so amazing.” He also loves “all the partner work with Mia.” The whole experience for Davaldo, “is almost surreal. It’s like I still can’t believe I get to do this!”

Gimenez has many favorite moments, too. She loves performing “Not While I’m Around” with Hank Welter (Tobias). “It’s the one moment when Mrs. Lovett feels maternal,” she says, “and you wonder whether she’s choosing Todd over Toby, or if she really believes they can make a little family somehow.” She thinks working with Welter is particularly great, because he’s a good listener. “That’s a rare quality in such a young actor,” Gimenez points out. “When I’m working with him, it reminds me to get out of my head and just listen to what’s being said.” She also enjoys playing the parlor scene with Joshua Fryvecind (Beadle), her offstage husband. “There’s a cat and mouse element to that scene, and we’ve had a wonderful time playing with it at home, trying it every which way.” Gimenez’ 12-year-old son, Deuce, also makes an appearance as a boy criminal, so it’s truly a family affair.

Everyone involved in this production is excited to open this weekend. They’ve worked very hard to bring the dark masterpiece to life. The rest of the cast is listed here. Check out our Facebook page for a video peek at a recent rehearsal. Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert runs one weekend only, Feb 12-14 at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.  Bring your Valentine, but leave the kids at home: this show contains intense violent and sexual imagery. Tickets are on sale now at the Box Office, 1301 5th Street in Coralville, by phone at (319) 248-9370, or online.


We Need Your Help!

We are looking for some helping hands this Saturday.

There are 2 volunteer options:

1) Costume loft: Part of the costume loft is being converted into office space. We need to move some of the costumes into a different part of the costume loft. Construction begins on Monday, 1/25, so we have a have a fast-approaching deadline. We determined that Saturday, 1/23 would be a good day to do the work. With enough helpers, the lifting requirement shouldn’t be too bad.

We’re looking for volunteers 14 and older. We’ve listed 9 am – noon, but we’ll quit early if we’re finished.

Please contact Mary Jo Harken (maryjo.harken@gmail.com) with questions.

The costume loft is on the 2nd floor of the CCPA. Take the elevator to the 2nd floor. Take a right off of the elevator. Go through the double doors. The costume loft is the door that will be straight in front of you.

2) Shop: Liz needs help getting the shop organized. She’ll need volunteers 16 and older. We listed 9 am – noon again, but we’ll quit early if we’re finished.

Please contact Liz Tracey (liztracey2015@gmail.com) with questions.

The shop is also referred to as the Bus Barn. It’s in the yellow building near the Coralville Recycling Center. It’s on 7th Street down the hill from the Canterbury Inn.

Sign up here.

Thanks so much!


Auditions for 1776

1776City Circle will produce the beloved historical musical, 1776, this Spring.
“Witness the birth of a nation as our forefathers struggle to craft the Declaration of Independence.”
And right in the middle of the presidential election season.
We welcome Director Pauline Tyer back to once again work her magic on 1776, as she did in 2002.

Auditions will take place on:
Saturday, February 20 from 2pm-6pm and
Sunday, February 21 from 2pm-6pm
at the Community of Christ Church in Coralville.
If callbacks are required, they will be on Monday, February 22 from 7pm-9pm in the same location.

Please prepare 16 bars of a song of your choice that shows off your voice and your ability to tell a story.
Bring sheet music and an accompanist will be provided.
You may also be asked to read from the script, no preparation necessary, sides will be provided.
The director is open to color-blind casting.

1776 scripts will be available for checkout at the Coralville Public Library beginning Friday, Feb 12. There are five copies available for a one-week checkout. The scripts will be available at the reference desk during all normal library hours. To check out a copy you will need a library card. Anyone can get a Coralville library card, you do not need to be a resident.

To secure an audition appointment, fill out and submit an Audition Form,  and our producer will email you with an audition time.
NOTE: If you’ve submitted an Audition Form, and you do NOT hear back within 24 hours, please email Liz Tracey at liztracey2015@gmail.com to let her know.  
Walk-ins are welcome at the auditions, but scheduled auditions will take priority.
It is rated PG.

Characters (please note that the ages are those of the character, not necessarily the actor):

John Adams, 41 – Delegate from MA.

Stephen Hopkins, 70 – Delegate from RI.

Roger Sherman, 55 – Delegate from CN.

Robert Livingston, 30 – Delegate from NY.

Benjamin Franklin, 60-70 – Delegate from PA.

John Dickinson, 44 – Delegate from PA.

Col. Thomas Mckean, 42 – Delegate from DE.

Richard Henry Lee, 45 – Delegate from VA.

Thomas Jefferson, 33 -Delegate from VA.

Edward Rutledge, 26 – Delegate from SC.

Abigail Adams, 32 – Wife of John Adams.

Martha Jefferson, 27 – Wife of Thomas Jefferson.

Courier, 15-20

John Hancock, 39, delegate, MA

Andrew McNair, older, Doorkeeper and Custodian of the Continental Congress.

Joseph Hewes, 46, delegate, NC.

James Wilson, 34, delegate , PA.

Lewis Morris, 50, delegate, NY.

Charles Thompson, 46, Secretary to the Continental Congress.

Caesar Rodney, 48, delegate, DE.

Dr. Lyman Hall, 52, delegate, GA.

Samuel Chase, 35, delegate, NJ.

Dr. Josiah Bartlett, 47, delegate, NH.

Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon, 43, delegate, NJ.

George Read, 43, delegate, DE.

Leather Apron/Painter, age flexible.

We hope to see you at auditions!


Introducing The Cast of Sweeney Todd

Auditions for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street In Concert took place last weekend.
Guest Director Mark Christopher Baer said, “These were exceptional auditions.  I was very impressed by the talent, professionalism, and warmth of the entire community.  My deepest gratitude to all those who auditioned for your courage and creativity.”

The cast

Principal Roles

Sweeney Todd – Dustin Davaldo
Mrs. Lovett – Mia Fryvecind Gimenez
Tobias – Hank Welter
Judge Turpin – Michael Benson
Beadle – Joshua Fryvecind
Anthony – Michael Penick
Johanna  – Maya Bassuk
Beggar Woman – Anna Anderson
Pirelli – Robert Kemp

Ensemble

Becca Anderson
Gary Benser
Riley Brannian
Aaron Brewer
Jen Brown
Kaia Burkum
Sam Cacciatore
Jacklyn Even
Gabby Finlayson
Mackenzie Foxen
Meredith Godar
Paula Grady
Hannah Green
Chandler Hamm
Louisa Hamra
Nicole Klostermann
Noelle McVey
Sydney Myers
Aeriel Nelson-White
Krista Neumann
Christopher Okiishi
Katie Rasmussen
Elizabeth Ross
Kristina Rutkowski
Josh Sazon
Francis Smith
Sage Spiker
Robin Stoker
Amy Sundermann
Carolina Wade

All solos and cameo roles are TBA.

Congratulations to everyone in the cast, and thanks to all who auditioned.
Tickets for Sweeney Todd are on sale now.


Food, Glorious Food

IMG_9808During the run of Oliver!, we are hosting a food drive.
This musical is based on the classic novel Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens.  Dickens was very concerned with the plight of the poor, especially disadvantaged children.  In this spirit, and the spirit of the season, we wanted to give our community the opportunity to help those in need.

When you come to the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts to see Oliver!, please bring non-perishable food.  Alternatively, you can drop by with donations during box office hours between opening on December 11 and closing on December 20.  At each performance of Oliver!, everyone who donates to the food drive will be entered into a drawing for two tickets to a future City Circle show.

After we close, all food donations will be delivered to Coralville’s Ecumenical Food Pantry.
Their list of most-needed items includes:

  • Fresh or Canned Fruits & Veggies
  • Peanut Butter
  • Hearty Soups & Stews
  • Beans (canned & dried)
  • Rice/Pasta
  • Canned Meats
  • Toilet Paper

For more information about the Food Pantry, check out their website.

We look forward to seeing you at a performance of Oliver!  The show runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30, and Sundays at 2:00 through December 20.  Tickets are available online or at the box office (319) 248-9370.


Don’t Be Afraid…..

TO AUDITION FOR SWEENEY TODD!

Our Music Director, Carl Rowles, has clarified the auditions process:

If you would like to sing in the chorus (which will be a large group of singers, of all types and ages), the ONLY thing you need to prepare for your audition is “16 bars of a song that demonstrates your ability to communicate a character.”

If you’re interested in playing one of the nine named roles, you should also choose a cutting from the list, and prepare that.
You only have to prepare a cutting if you’re auditioning for a named role (Todd, Mrs. Lovett, Tobias, Anthony, Johanna, Judge Turpin, Beadle, Pirelli or Beggar Woman).

Auditions are this weekend (Dec 12-14) at the Community of Christ Church.  All the details, including character breakdown, the director’s approach, a link to the audition form, and links to the audition cuttings are here.

We hope to see you at auditions, and onstage!!

 



Seeking Directors for Next Season

City Circle Acting Company of Coralville will host an information meeting for persons interested in directing a show in their 2016-17 season. The meeting will be held Sunday, November 8 at 1pm in the lobby of the Coralville Center of the Performing Arts at 1301 5th Street.

This will be an informal gathering with City Circle’s Play Selection Committee to learn more details about the upcoming season including production budgets, production teams and the director selection process. Direct questions to info@citycircle.org.


Auditions for Sweeney Todd

Auditions for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will take place on
Saturday, December 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and
Sunday, December 13 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
If callbacks are necessary, they will be on Monday, December 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Auditions will be at the Community of Christ Church, 2121 S. Ridge Dr., Coralville.

Rehearsals will begin on Monday, January 4 at 7:00 p.m.
The show runs February 12-14.

Please prepare 16 bars of a song that demonstrates your ability to communicate a character.
Bring sheet music in the correct key; an accompanist will be provided.
The music director would prefer that your selection NOT be from Sweeney Todd.

Your primary audition should take no more than a few minutes, but you may be asked to stay and work with a group. Be prepared to stay for an hour.

To secure an audition appointment, please fill out an Audition Form.  Once you have submitted it, you should hear back from our producer, Liz Tracey, via email.
If you don’t hear anything within 24 hours of submitting your form, email her at liz@citycircle.org.
Walk-ins are accepted at auditions, but scheduled auditions will take priority.

Synopsis:
“One of the darkest musicals ever written, Sweeney Todd 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.”

– StageAgent.com

Director’s Approach:

Sweeney Todd is about hypocrisy, that is, how we judge others differently than we judge ourselves. Is Anthony’s desire to posses Johanna any different than Judge Turpin’s? Is Mrs. Lovett’s enslavement of Tobias any different than Pirelli’s? Do not Turpin and Sweeney deal ruthless judgment? This beautifully constructed play highlights how we imagine ourselves righteous while quickly identifying the cruelty of others. It is beautiful in its biting truth.

A concert version of Sweeney Todd offers several amazing and rare artistic opportunities for those involved. While the fad in recent productions has been to strip this play down to a small musical ensemble and minimal chorus, our production will feature a full orchestra and as many as 40 choral singers. As the focus of a concert is on the music and the text, we will produce the full script and score with no cuts or omissions. Rather than focusing on spectacle, we will focus on bringing these amazing lyrics and music to life.

Casting:

We will be looking for exceptional actor-singers whose skills match each role regardless of age or physical type.

Todd – A wrongfully imprisoned barber who returns to London unsure of the fate his wife and daughter. When he realizes that his family is irreparable, he decides to take revenge on everyone in the city. When Mrs. Lovett suggests that they grind the bodies of his victims for her meat pies, he takes delight in the irony of “man devouring man.” Range: F2 – Gb4

Mrs. Lovett – The poor and lonely owner of a pie shop. Desperate for love and a better life, she is willing to overlook Todd’s homicidal mania if he will only marry her. She withholds the truth about the fate of Todd’s wife. Range: G3 – E5

Tobias – A poor youngster apprenticed to Pirelli. He believes he has found a surrogate family in Todd and Lovett, until he discovers the horrible truth. Range: Bb2 – Ab4

Anthony – A naive and youthful sailor returning to London. He helps Todd return to London and unexpectedly falls in love with Johanna. Range: Bb2 – F4

Johanna – Todd’s daughter who has spent her young life caged in the care of Judge Turpin. She yearns for freedom. Range: Bb3 – A5

Judge Turpin – Portrays himself as a righteous and upstanding public official, but secretly uses his power to control and abuse the less fortunate. He lusts after Johanna and plans to marry her, though he is many years her senior. Range: E2 – Gb4

Beadle – A pompous public official. He is deeply loyal to the corrupt Turpin. Range: D3 – D5

Pirelli – Todd’s first victim, a flamboyant Italian rival barber; a charlatan with a secret past. Range: B2 – C5

Beggar Woman – Dirty, abused and forced into prostitution, she has a tenuous hold on reality. She is the first to notice the growing circle of death around Todd. After her death, Todd recognizes her as his lost wife. Range: Ab3 – F5

Chorus – as many as 40 performers of all ages and voice types. MANY solos and cameo roles.

Audition Process

Each actor should prepare 16 bars of a song of their choosing. Please sing anything that you feel showcases your voice and performance skills.

Each actor who wants to be considered for one of the named roles above will also be asked to sing one of following cuttings from the Sweeney Todd score. Each actor may choose the cutting that they prefer.

A – Todd
B- Lovett
C – Johanna
D – Anthony
E – Pirelli
F – Beadle
G – Tobias
H – Judge

If callbacks are required, these additional cuttings will be used.

I – Todd and Lovett
J – Johanna and Anthony
K – Todd and Judge
L – Tobias
M – Beggar Woman


The cast of Oliver!

Director Elizabeth Tracey is pleased to announce the cast of Oliver!, which will perform at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts December 11-20.  Tickets are on sale now.  Congratulations to the cast, and warm thanks to all who auditioned.

OLIVER! CAST LIST

elliot manjoine – oliver twist
whit jury – understudy, oliver twist
doug beardsley – fagin
tobias epstein – artful dodger
thomazin jury – understudy, artful dodger
jessica wittman – nancy
john smick – bill sykes
derek johnson – mr. bumble
ellen stevenson – widow corney
david medin – mr. sowerberry
valerie davine – mrs. sowerberry
kevin burford – mr. brownlow
katherine ryken – bet
TBA – charlotte
TBA – noah claypole
patti mctaggart – mrs. bedwin
rip russell – dr. grimwig
TBA – old sally

workhouse children:
leo burchett
kaia burkum
astrid carlson
mari cetta
l’engle charis-carlson
lucy charis-carlson
samantha croco
paige dahlstrom
aisley foster
calla foster
niles granfield
whit jury
briar martin
willa martin
britton mason
kyle mcelroy
maple miller
oliver miller
davis nepple
samuel nester
erin netolicky
lila panek
santiago perez
savannah stookey
brigitta vande lune
greta vande lune
katherine Yacopucci

fagin’s gang:
dane christians
gray christians
maeve christians
maia degrazia
jack furlong
wylan gao
vincent green
katey halverson
sean harken
annika harvey
thomazin jury
evren sasmazer
aaron schultz
owen smith

Ensemble:
rachel abbe
jill beardsley
riley brannian
eric burchett
pat cancilla
haley dessicino
ellen fields
emma furlong
tarri furlong
kaitlin hatcher
emily hill
carolina icardi
cassie kaminsky
brian melloy
erin melloy
sofia perez
robert steger
franklyn thomas
lindsay vincent