Baldwinsville I am a “Theater Dad.” I never planned to be one but it happened. It started when my children began singing in elementary school in Baldwinsville and has been nurtured and developed through their involvement in the top notch productions at C. W. Baker High School. It is no secret that the Baldwinsville music and theater program are locally and nationally recognized.
This past weekend was the Baker High School production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” One only has to have a passing acquaintance with literature and theater to know that Sweeney Todd is a story of a deranged barber who kills unsuspecting customers who are then baked into pies. Prior to my son’s involvement in the musical, I did not know of the deeper story; one that involves lost love, jealousy, revenge, devotion, class war, (Can you say “Occupy Wall Street”?) and sacrifice. The more I learned about the show, the more I was reminded of so many classic plays and stories with difficult themes including Romeo and Juliet, Catcher in the Rye, and “The Lottery” – a short story I read in ninth grade about a small town in which there was an annual lottery resulting in one resident being stoned to death.
Only on the opening night of “Sweeney Todd, did I learn that no other high school in Central New York has ever put on this show. This seems to be a testament, not only to the mature subject matter but to the difficult lyrics and orchestrations of the show. With that said, the production was simply awesome. I still can’t believe that the cast of “Sweeney Todd” was made up of teenagers. Their dedication, professionalism, and talent were matched only by their youthful exuberance and almost complete lack of arrogance.
I want to express my appreciation to the tireless work of the staff and crew especially Mr. Colin Keating (producer), Ms. Meghan Pearson (producer), Ms. Moriarity (assistant director/accompanist), Ms. Cathy Strong (co-director and choreographer), Mr. Tom Minardi (acting coach), Mr. Jim Makowiec (set construction) and countless others.