While many students placed bets on who the big Spring Fling performer would be or how many deep-friend Oreos they could eat in one sitting, for me, Fling always meant something equally exciting: the Quadramics musical. Admittedly, I’m something of a Broadway fanatic, but I know I’m not the only one who looked forward to the Fling musical each year. (Partly because it was always fun, partly because it was often the last student production of the year.)
During my own Penn days, I watched the annual musical evolve from the jazzy The Wild Party to the wholesome Bye Bye Birdie to the zany and seductive Rocky Horror Picture Show. And, in the Rocky vein, the last few shows have been “very much in the sex-drugs-rock and roll tradition,” according to Quadramics chairwoman EJ Baker. So, then, staging Sweeney Todd seemed like a longshot, as Baker explains in her director’s note.
“Then I thought more about it,” she adds. “What is unique about the Fling musical is not the type of show that is selected but the way in which it is presented. The unique and wonderful thing that the Fling musical always offers is a collapsing of the fourth wall…Iron Gate is an intimate theater that does not allow much distance at all between the audience and the actors.” As a result, “we wanted to combine the fun of going to a haunted house and seeing a scary movie and take advantage of the unique connection between the Fling audience and the show. This is a show that evokes visceral emotions–I expect to hear both laughter and screams.”
There were plenty of both when I went to see the show last Thursday. (Though I don’t doubt more of each in the midnight performance the following night.)
I filmed a few videos to give you a taste of the show. To start, here’s Sweeney Todd and his nemesis Judge Turpin (talented seniors Max Black and Harrison Unger) in one of my all-time favorite Sweeney numbers: the tense, suspenseful Pretty Women.
You can also join Mrs. Lovett (Jess Dignam C’12) and Sweeney Todd (Max Black) for a few verses of A Little Priest–my favorite comical song from the show. (And let me just say that Dignam played a wonderful Mrs. Lovett!)