By Anna Rhodes
Appalachian State University invites the Boone community to discuss the finer points of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which runs April 13–15 at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, and why the production is particularly poignant today. A collaboration between the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance, Hayes School of Music and Office of Cultural Resources, the musical is perfectly placed against the backdrop of today’s unsettling times. The panel discussion will be held from 6–7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28 in the I. G. Greer Studio Theatre on Appalachian’s campus. This program is free and open to the public.
Distinguished Professor of Theatre Keith Martin, director of the show, described the production as having, “No challenges… only opportunities!” The orgainzers believe the panel provides an opportunity for the general public and students to discuss how the show reflects important topics related to current events.
“We are excited for the opportunity to talk about why this musical is timely and to offer some insights into the director’s concept for the show. It promises to be an extraordinary visual and musical experience, one that speaks trenchantly and surprisingly, given it is set in London in 1846, to the unsettling times in which we live,” stated playwright Derek Davidson, an assistant professor of theatre and the musical’s dramaturg. "Offering inside ideas and supporting community growth, the conversation is an opportunity to discuss challenging subjects in an objective manner. Theatre is a way to bond over a subject and speak on it in a slightly removed sense, allowing others to voice ideas in a safe environment and deal with the issues at hand."
The community conversation will be held on March 28 at 6 p.m. in the I. G. Greer Studio Theatre on Appalachian’s campus. The I. G. Greer theatre is located on 401 Academy Street on Appalachian State’s campus. The front entrance of I. G. Greer faces the side of Sanford Hall also located on 401 Academy Street. Parking is available after 5 P.M. on campus in faculty/staff lots and after 5:30 P.M. in the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons.
About the Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.