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Opera company kicks off season with ‘Sweeney Todd’
by Christine Fonville
February 25, 2014 09:43 AM | 2151 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye / From left, Michael Nutter takes notes while Heather Witt and Shane Desmond-Williams rehearse a scene from 'Sweeney Todd'.
Staff / Katherine Frye / From left, Michael Nutter takes notes while Heather Witt and Shane Desmond-Williams rehearse a scene from 'Sweeney Todd'.
DeKalb residents can enjoy dark humor and a bloody good time during “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” the Capitol City Opera Company’s first performance of the 2014 season.

The musical, written by Stephen Sondheim, will run March 7 through 9 at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University.

Artistic Director Michael Nutter said attendees will see some new twists on a familiar and beloved classic.

“We’re doing a steam punk version of the play, so a lot of the costumes incorporate that style,” he said. “For example, Sweeney Todd’s smock is a leather apron that looks like it’s made from human skin.”

Nutter said subtle, dark details make the company’s production more “twisted and psychotic” than other adaptations.

But, said cast member Heather Witt, who is playing Mrs. Lovett, the audience can expect lively, humorous performances as well.

“There is a lot of physical comedy in this show, which I’m a big fan of because a lot of opera singers have the reputation of just standing on the stage while singing and not moving around,” she said.

Witt said although her background is in opera, she enjoyed working in a different performance style with fellow cast member Shane Desmond-Williams, who is portraying the play’s lead character, Sweeney Todd.

Desmond-Williams, a musical theater performer and Oglethorpe alumnus, is new to the company and said his experiences so far have been “exciting.”

“The focus is on the music and acting and it’s great to work with so many talented singers and live musicians,” he said. “Many companies around Atlanta use pre-recorded tracks, but this company has a huge number of very talented, professional musicians.”

Putting local singers to the forefront, said Nutter, is the company’s main goal.

“Capitol City is all about hiring locally and helping aspiring musicians learn and have fun in a welcoming, process-driven environment,” he said. “Many of our past singers have gone on to make careers for themselves and it’s truly great to see them achieve.”

For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit

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