BRANFORD — If the upcoming Branford High School Performing Arts production of Stephen Sondheim’s“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” comes off as so impressively done, even professional, much of the credit should go to the 45-plus people who worked on it — but not for the props.
Those are straight out of the hugely successful revival of “Sweeney Todd” that ran at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York City from March 1, 2017, to August 26, 2018.
But it’s all in the family.
The props — the straight razor used by main character Sweeney Todd (played by David Rosenthal,) his barber chair, some meat pies, bloody sheets and bells that ring during the play — were lent to the Branford production by Seaview Productions, the production company started by BHS Performing Arts alumnus Greg Nobile — BHS class of 2011.
But that’s not the only connection in the story of how the props came to be in use.
Director Colin Sheehan — also a Branford alum — who took over for Branford High’s former longtime theater director Toni Cartisano a few years back after a number of years working in theater in New York, worked for awhile with as an associate producer with Nobile at Seaview.
In fact, Sheehan — BHS class of 2003 — is the one who introduced Nobile to Ray Wetmore, a Cheshire native, fellow Wagner College grad and Sheehan’s onetime NYC roommate.
Wetmore ended up being the props master for the New York run of “Sweeney Todd,” winner of the Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival.
So when Sheehan got in touch with them to inquire about the possibility of borrowing the props, they were receptive.
Sheehan “decided he wanted to do a production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ and he called and told me,” and said, “We would love to use some of the props.”
Nobile had no problem with that.
“They have an amazing program, and as you know, I was a product of that program,” said Nobile.
The cast of this year’s production, besides Rosenthal, includes, among others, Sophia Coppola as Mrs. Lovett, Dylan Campos as Beadle Bamford, Alina Catania as Johanna, Ben Clouse as Anthony Hope, Delaney Cotter as Lucy Barker, Max Dormer as Jonas Fogg, Emma Gallagher as Tobias, Dorian Hayes as Judge Turpin, Cordelia Kerberle as Beggar Woman and Gabe Villa as Adolfo Pirelli.
As if there were any question, “of course” Nobile, who has kept his ties to Branford strong, will be there.
Whatever else is going on, “I’ll be back in two weeks to see it,” he said.
“They actually gave us everything that they had in their storage unit ... but we had to make some of our own props” because of the differences between the two productions, said Sheehan, who is working with Branford High Choir Director Michael Martone, another BHS alum who took over for longtime former choir director Cathyann Roding around the same time Sheehan got involved.
This is the third musical that Martone and Sheehan have worked on together, Sheehan said.
“We can’t use all of the props because we’re not doing it as if you’re in a pie shop,” which is what Seaview and Barrow Street Theatre did when they essentially transferred the South London production of “Sweeney Todd” to New York, Sheehan said.
The play will run March 18-22 in the Cathyann Roding Auditorium at Branford High School. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students at seniors, available online at thechoirlobby.com. (The Saturday matinee will feature the understudies.)