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The story of Sweeney Todd has been told in one way or another since the 1830s, and on February 21 and 22 it will be told in a brand new way on the stage of the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts.

“Everyone is going to be enchanted and enthralled with what we have been able to put together,” says Janna Hymes, music director of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra (CSO).

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the production is the union of the CSO with the Actors Theatre of Indiana (ATI). The two artistic powerhouses are partnering to produce Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the Stephen Sondheim musical that first appeared on Broadway in 1979.

“This story is not new, but this production is new,” Hymes says.

Both Hymes and Don Farrell, artistic director and co-founder of the ATI, have been hoping to collaborate on a project like this for many years.

“This is a wonderful way for us to create great art together,” says Farrell, who is also playing the role of Sweeney Todd.

The production will be a semi-staged presentation of the well-known musical. According to Hymes, semi-staged means there won’t be as many sets as in a fully staged musical, but she adds that they won’t be missed.

“The Palladium wasn’t built for this so it will be a very unique show, and the visual part will be stunning,” she says.

This event will mark the first time the Palladium stage hosts a choir, actors, singers, an orchestra, sets, costumes, special lighting and additional elements involved in musical theater production.

“Doing this on the Palladium stage is just so unique,” Farrell says, adding that the ATI usually performs in the Studio Theater, a 200-seat venue that is more versatile than the Palladium, a 1,600-seat concert hall. “The Palladium stage is just magnificent and acoustically perfect.”

Farrell says about 1,200 of the Palladium’s seats will be available for the audience because the remaining seats will be used for the production.

“This is simply a must-see,” he says.

Hymes agrees, referring to the production as “an event, a happening.”

“There is an excitement in the air because this is going to be an experience that is going to feel different and new,” she says.   

Sweeney Todd tells the tale of an unjustly exiled barber who returns to London to seek revenge on the judge who framed him. Although well known for its dark side, Farrell says the musical is also quite funny.

“A lot of the other productions, especially the movies, didn’t tap into the humor of the play,” Farrell says. “People are really going to appreciate the humorous scenes in our production.”

Both Farrell and Hymes hope Sondheim would appreciate the production as a special tribute – the famed composer was born on March 22, 1930, and the Palladium production will happen almost exactly a month before his 90th birthday.

Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts is located at 1 Center Green in Carmel. For tickets and more info, call 317-843-3800 and visit

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