School of Drama alum returns to direct annual musical, with “Sweeney Todd”

Winford Hunter

UNCSA invitations audiences to “Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd” when the Faculty of Drama offers its annual musical beginning Nov. 10. The present is directed by Lo Feliciani Ojeda (B.F.A. Drama ’20) with tunes course by Dionne McClain-Freeney.

Performances are Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 10-12 and 17-19 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday,
Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. in the Freedman Theatre in Functionality Put on campus. Tickets
are $25 regular, $20 for learners with I.D. at or 336-721-1945.

Thought of by many to be Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon
Barber of Fleet Avenue,” which follows the tale of a vengeful and murderous barber,
opened on Broadway in 1979 and won the Tony Award for Greatest Musical. With music and
lyrics by Sondheim and ebook by Hugh Wheeler, “Sweeney Todd” has experienced several revivals,
as very well as a 2007 motion picture adaptation, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.

“Sweeney Todd” is frequently explained as macabre and darkly humorous, but Ojeda suggests that
it is significantly more than that.

Lo Feliciani Ojeda

Lo Feliciani Ojeda

“For me, it is not darkness, it’s deepness,” Ojeda reported. “This is a participate in about obsession,
and the lengths we take to get what we want. Everybody receives their revenge, some way
or a different, in this enjoy. It also demonstrates how programs of course and oppression
can and do have perilous consequences on modern modern society if they are not addressed.
It is also a bloody superior thriller!”

Lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim, who died previous November at 91, was a single of the
most influential figures in musical theater in the latter 50 percent of the 20th century.
He wrote the lyrics for Leonard Bernstein’s “West Aspect Story” and “Sunday in the Park
With George,” about George Seurat, the pointillist painter.

“I am directing ‘Sweeney Todd’ to honor Sondheim,” Ojeda stated. “I think in new music,
so songs is my way into the environment of the participate in, and Sondheim is musical theater Shakespeare.”

Ojeda received a Bachelor of Wonderful Arts degree in directing from UNCSA in 2020 and
a Master’s of Good Arts diploma in directing in 2022 from East 15 Performing College in
the United Kingdom. He directed “The Odyssey” and numerous other performs at UNCSA, “Antony
and Cleopatra” at Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe, and “Things I Can Snicker
About Now” at Brixton Residence, both equally in London.

For Ojeda, in Sondheim’s do the job, darkness equals depth. “The present admits a large amount of issues
that we are form of terrified to acknowledge to ourselves about how we are in the environment
and how we see each individual other as human beings. The complexities of human emotion boil
down to simple concepts about dying and vengeance and murder.”

Ojeda claimed that functioning with pupils so close to his age tends to make it quick for them to communicate
with one another.

The pupils are getting issues that I hadn’t imagined of in my wildest dreams.

Lo Feliciani Ojeda

“The college students are discovering points that I hadn’t believed of in my wildest desires,”
Ojeda explained. “When you are directing you have an plan in your head, but it often turns
out to be the actors who have the ideal strategies.”

Guaranteeing the actors aren’t dwelling in the show’s shadows, and mastering the notoriously
complex music are the toughest sections of directing Sondheim according to Ojeda.

“The toughest detail is making positive that we never continue to be in that world of ‘Sweeney Todd’
when we are in rehearsal,” Ojeda said with a giggle. “These characters are very intense.
But if you make it entertaining and fascinating, and there’s laughter and new music in the home, then
the actors can flow through the levels of emotion for their characters.”

“And the demonstrate is really, really funny,” he ongoing. “You variety of will need light-weight, laughter
and adore in purchase to fully comprehend the grandeur and tragedy of the planet.”

New music Director McClain-Freeney is a pianist, composer, lyricist, choral and musical
director, arranger, singer, and teaching artist whose credits contain accompaniment
in some of New York’s most beloved church buildings. She has appeared in the U.S., like
“Joe’s Pub,” and off-Broadway musical direction. Her award-profitable compositions and
arrangements have been done by the New York Philharmonic, at the New York Musical
Festival, as properly as nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. Her credits contain “The Harriet
Holland Social Club Offers the 84th Annual Star-Burst Cotillion in the Grand Ballroom
of the Renaissance Lodge,” “Going House: A Movement of Voices,” “The Motion picture Star and
The Mammy,” and “The Sugar Hill Sisters.” She’s also a composer in the BMI Lehman
Engel Musical Theater Workshop.

“It’s 1 of the hardest musical scores,” Ojeda reported. “There are keys that don’t make
sense, and time signatures that alter each two bars.

“Then the moment you enable go of all that and just sing the music, it’s wild how powerful
that can be.”

This iteration of “Sweeney Todd” will use a mixture of 19th-century and up to date
configurations, drawing inspiration from the play’s British origins but embracing its id
as a musical thriller. Even if you are very familiar with the display, you should really be
able to obtain one thing new – and it’s possible deeper – in this output.

“You could possibly occur in recognizing the tale or some of the music,” Ojeda claimed. “You may well
be expecting a regular ‘Sweeney Todd,’ but we are performing some thing that expands
the earth a bit additional. It’s more numerous in believed and action and persons. Put together
to be afraid but also to understand a little about yourself.”

Kobe McKelvey is actively playing the job of Sweeney Todd, Caroline Farley as Mrs. Lovett,
Jason Sanchez as Anthony, Anna Lei Negrin as Johanna, Jack Eld as Judge Turpin/Ensemble,
Diego Vazquez Gomez Bertelli as Pirelli, Sam Lee Baladejo as Tobias, Alyssa James
as Beggar Female, Caleb McKnabb as Beadle and Sebastian Kong as Jonah Fogg/Ensemble.
Ensemble users include things like Ferin Bergen, Miles Blue, Dara Kovacevic, Harvaniya Krishnan,
Anthony Littlepage-Buggs, Grace Quintanilla, Grace Steckler and Isabel Stewart.

From the College of Layout & Production the scenic designer is Sarah Webster the
costume designer is Maki Niikura the lighting designer is Malcolm Foster the audio
designer is Katherine Gonzalez the wig and makeup designer is Kenzie Biundo the
specialized director is Emily Weinberger the scenic paint cost is Renae Losee the
attributes director is Meg Winkler the automation engineers are Kaci Kidder & Hannah
Stecklein the creation phase manager is Kat Denning and the production manager
is Cameron Russell.

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