The stage was set with little marks of various colored tape. The music was recorded, and some of the sound effects were a bit too loud for those in the audience. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still freaking awesome to watch our own Yuba College students enact scenes from Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in yesterday’s preview of tonight’s show.
During the usual All Campus Hour of 12-1pm on Thursday, Musical Director Dr. Aya Ueda got up on stage and explained the history of the musical, as well as some of the melodic themes. She explained that if listeners were attentive they might pick up a funeral dirge in the tunes being sung and played. It wasn’t all one long lecture, however, as she broke up the information with scenes from the performance.
These scenes were well chosen and even better performed, despite, we in the audience were told, the absence of several key people who were unable to attend the preview due to classes or occupation. I can say, though, that if I wasn’t told that people were missing, I would not have really known. With consummate professionalism, others were prepared to step in. They sang songs and took stage positions without missing a cue.
As previously reported, the lead role of Sweeney shall be played by long-time, off-and-on, student here at Yuba College, David DuPlantier. After months of rehearsals and literally years of acting and singing under his belt, plus the addition of a wicked goatee, he took to the role of a homicidal barber with apparent relish. Just watching him stroking and serenading to straight razors, as his role had him compare spilled blood to tumbling rubies, was both chilling and compelling. The only incongruity was that the pink-faced DuPlantier wasn’t wearing his stage make-up, and so looked a bit too healthy for a 19th century English psychopath on Broadway should look.
If the preview is anything like the actual performance, then I’m glad I already bought my ticket.