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TYPA takes a walk on the dark side with Sweeney Todd
sweeney todd pic1
Sweeney Todd, played by Adolfo Hernandez, is giving a client (Jacob Sylvester) a closer shave than really is necessary in TYPAs production of Sweeney Todd. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal

“He never forgets and he never forgives.”

So go the lyrics of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” in describing the disposition of the title character in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Turlock Youth Performing Arts senior troupe is tackling this musical that manages to mix in both the farcical and the macabre, with opening night set for Friday at the Turlock Community Theatre.

“The kids approached us about doing this show and we thought we would take a chance on it,” TYPA Board of Directors President Janice Anderson said. “It’s definitely something different for us.”

If there was one word to describe TYPA’s production, it would have to be ambitious.

The sets, with all their moving parts, have to represent a barber shop, a meat pie shop, the seedy side of London’s back alleys and an insane asylum — just to name a few.

The songs are deep and melodic and full of emotion.

The story line has to walk a fine line of comedy and horror to be successful.

And if those weren’t enough challenges to take on, TYPA is using an orchestra to provide live music for the show — for the first time.

“Adding in the orchestra brings its own challenge,” said Musical Director Chelsea Horan. “But it’s a good step for TYPA to make. It brings us up to a new level.”

The audience first meets Sweeney Todd aboard a ship coming into London’s harbor, circa 1846. Unbeknownst to most, Sweeney Todd is the former Benjamin Barker, a naive barber who was exiled to a penal colony by a corrupt judge who lusted after Sweeney Todd’s beautiful young wife.

Sweeney Todd meets Mrs. Nellie Lovett, who recognizes him as Barker and tells him his wife committed suicide and their baby is now a young woman and a ward of the same corrupt judge.

Fixated on revenge and retribution for those responsible for his misfortunes, Sweeney Todd starts dispatching his barber shop clientele while Mrs. Lovett finds an imaginative, yet stomach-churning use for the recently departed.

TYPA is staging the school version of the show, which doesn’t feature so much gore, among some other changes.

“The content is less adult and the language is youth-friendly,” Anderson said. “There are also a few musical changes to help the younger voices.”

The addition of the orchestra has added a new level of showmanship for the troupe of teen performers.

“It’s a whole new experience,” Horan said. “It’s going to be a beautiful show.”

“Sweeney Todd” opens at 7 p.m. Friday with additional shows at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The shows are at the Turlock Community Theatre at 1574 E. Canal Dr.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by calling the Carnegie Arts Center at 632-5761 or by calling 537-5227. Tickets can also be purchased at the door prior to the shows.