#SweeneyTodd Social Media Night at Great Lakes Theater

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In a weekend filled of the usual (yoga, family, Honey Hut ice cream, pup walks, Aladdin’s hot sauce, etc.), I did something else pretty familiar to kick off the weekend. Friday night, I headed back to place where I’ve spent several weekend nights before:

GLTF Hanna Theatre sign

The preview of Great Lakes Theater‘s Sweeney Todd was also designated as its Social Media Night, where local bloggers, tweeters, Instagrammers, etc. were welcomed to check out the musical offering of the company’s 2013-2014 season.  Considered to be one of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpieces, I knew Cleveland theater goers would be in for a treat with Victoria Bussert at the helm as director.

From the show page from the GLT website:

Set on the seedy side streets of 19th century London and laced with brilliant wit, diabolical humor and extraordinary music, this Tony Award-winning musical tells the tale of an unjustly exiled barber’s quest to avenge the wrongs done to him and his family by a lecherous judge. Aided by the romantically inclined and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett, the demon barber of Fleet Street exacts his sweet, razor-sharp revenge.

Not only was it Social Media Night, it was also Director’s Night, when the GLT Producing Artistic Director Charles Fee sits down with the director of the show to give the audience a chance to learn more about the piece itself, Great Lakes’ take on it and other fun facts about its production.

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As I tweeted from the parlor that evening, there’s no better pre-show talk than with these two individuals. I love the enthusiasm that both Charlie and Vicky bring to the discussion: how they bounce off of each other, allowing nuggets of knowledge flow like the 16 different types of blood that they use in the production – each formulated based on how each character’s situation in the play. Their excitement made every attendee ready for a roller coaster of a show.

On our way to our seats, we stopped by the bar where Hans treated himself to the show’s signature drink as crafted by PlayhouseSquare’s bartenders:

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After chatting with some of my fellow bloggers, it was time for us to take our seats. And as Charlie joked from the stage, it may have been social media night, but we still had to turn off our cell phones.

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As a former GLT company employee and as a proud Baldwin-Wallace college theatre alum, I realized that I take for granted that moment of seeing a musical for the first time. I was introduced to Sweeney Todd at a young age (we’re talking middle school – start ’em early!), so I knew exactly what was in store. But to be flanked by my husband and Mary (@MaryLeeS) – both newbies to the piece – it was wonderful to experience their surprise as Sweeney Todd unfolded beautifully in front of our eyes. Kudos to my college professors Jeff Herrmann and Charlotte Yetman for their breathtaking design work – yet again!

Also, as a long time patron of GLT (we’re talking grade school now!), I also take advantage of the wonderful talent that regular graces it stage. Watching Tom Ford – the actor playing the title role – become this character after I last saw him play the Baker in Into The Woods was such as thrill – but Tom, a true professional of his craft – found the deepest, darkest parts of the barber like nothing I had ever seen previously. Sara Bruner’s portrayal of Mrs. Lovett was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.  And watching other familiar faces in the ensemble made me promise to Amanda that we’d go see Richard III – also running in rep at the same time as Sweeney Todd – before November 4.

And as though an evening at the theater wasn’t enough, I got to catch up with some of my favorite social media friends:

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I haven’t had as much time to coordinate Ohio Blogging Association meetups like I have in the past – I forgot how wonderful it is to see these faces on a regular basis!

The wonderful team at Great Lakes Theater wants you to experience what we got to on Friday night. Take advantage of the ticket promo “PR6” which will shave (their word choice, not mine!) $10 off each A Level ticket that you purchase. Visit www.greatlakestheater.org or call 216.241.6000 to purchase. Sweeney Todd runs through November 2, 2013, and runs in rep with Richard III – up until November 3, 2013.

You can see production photos from the show on the company website here. Follow GLT at all the usual social media hot spots: on Twitter at @GLTFCleveland, on Facebook, on YouTube, on Pinterest or at their company blog. Here’s to another wonderful season at the Hanna Theatre!

Disclosure: Great Lakes Theater invited local social media users to attend the preview performance of Sweeney Todd.  Attendees received a ticket to the performance and a drink ticket. I am a former employee of the organization, and still to this day, one of its biggest fans. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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