TEG Life Like Company has announced they have cast musical icon Debra Byrne in the role of the Beggar Woman; one of Australia’s most diversely talented entertainers, Michael Falzon as Pirelli; and celebrated international bass baritone opera star Daniel Sumegi as Judge Turpin, to star alongside previously announced, Anthony Warlow and Gina Riley in the spectacular re-imagined concert version of the musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street this June in Sydney and Melbourne.
Debra Byrne’s incredible career spans over five decades. Her dynamic performances on 70’s hit TV show ‘Young Talent Time’ made her a household name. Debra has released six albums, 18 singles, holds two TV Week Logie Awards, two Queen of Pop awards and a Grammy Award for The Complete Symphonic Recording of Les Misérables. Some of Debra’s iconic music theatre performances include Grizabella in CATS, Fantine in Les Misérables, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and The Bird Lady in Mary Poppins.
Michael Falzon most recently starred as Magaldi alongside Tina Arena in Evita. He has further starred locally and internationally in We Will Rock You, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rock of Ages, Chess, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and played arenas across the globe in Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds.
Australia has seen Michael with his swinging super-group Swing on This; with Kate Ceberano in The Music of James Bond and blasting the hits of Queen with symphony orchestras at Sydney Opera House and Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. After recording the lead on Atomic – A New Rock Musical in New York, Falzon was invited back last year to record GET JACK – A Musical Thriller by Damien Gray and Grammy nominee, Kip Winger.
International bass-baritone Daniel Sumegi has sung over 100 roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, San Francisco Opera, London’s Covent Garden and the Paris Opera, as well as major opera companies across the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
Daniel’s recent appearances have included: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Melbourne, Seattle, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles), Madama Butterfly (Metropolitan Opera, Seattle), Rigoletto and Billy Budd (Los Angeles), Salome (Israel, Washington, Hong Kong) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, The Magic Flute, Pearl Fishers, Luisa Miller, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Rigoletto and Eugene Onegin (Opera Australia).
Alongside these luminaries of Australian stage, film and television other principal cast announced today include Anton Berezin (Evita, Once, Wicked) as Beadle Bamford, Genevieve Kingsford (A Gentleman’s Guide…, The Light in the Piazza, Brigadoon) as Johanna Barker, Jonathan Hickey (The Light in the Piazza, Aspects of Love) as Tobias Ragg and Owen McCredie (Jersey Boys, You Will Be Found) as Anthony Hope.
The full company of Sweeney Todd features Susan Ann-Walker, Carrie Barr, Darcy Carroll, Amelia Christo, Ben Colley, Andrew Dunne, Nick Eynaud, Courtney Glass, Matt Heyward, Lauren Jimmieson, Megan Kozak, Sam Roberts-Smith, Sam Skuthorp, Tod Strike and Caroline Vercoe.
Sweeney Todd will be presented for six shows only in both Sydney and Melbourne from 13 to 23 June to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s ground-breaking musical thriller that transports audiences into the atmospheric underbelly of 19th century London.
Exiled barber Sweeney Todd will be played by quintessential leading man Anthony Warlow and the incomparable Gina Riley plays the tragi-comic role of pie-maker Mrs Lovett. With soaring arias of vengeance and yearning, the darkly-comic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street combines the vocal power and sweep of opera with the aching humanity of musical theatre.
Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979 and in London’s West End in 1980. The musical thriller, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Hugh Wheeler, has seen numerous revivals worldwide by opera and theatre companies as well as Tim Burton’s 2007 film adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
The story, inspired by a tale serialised in a Penny Dreadful in 1846 – 47, centres on the unjustly exiled barber who returns to London seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads to Mrs Lovett, the proprietor of a failing pie shop, above which, he opens a new barber shop. Desperate times lead Sweeney Todd to plot diabolical schemes against those who have wronged him.
The bold and imaginative new concert production by TEG Life Like Company combines stunning scenic design, exquisite lighting, beautiful costume design and the 22-piece orchestra is at the centre of the razor-sharp action. Fundamentally, this 40th anniversary production affirms the musical’s status as a star-power vehicle for resourceful, commanding performers at the top of their game.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street plays at the Darling Harbour Theatre, ICC Sydney (13 – 16 June), before playing Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne (20 – 23 June). For more information, visit: www.lifelikecompany.com for details.
Image: Anthony Warlow, Gina Riley, Debra Byrne, Michael Falzon and Daniel Sumegi to star in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (supplied)