DENVILLE, NJ -- The Morris Knolls High School Drama Club will perform “Sweeney Todd: On The Razor’s Edge” Nov 21-23.

“Today is my favorite day with the last chance to work on the acting before we add the technical aspects,” said Joy Mazur, who has taught drama and directed the school's fall production for the last 17 years.

“The cast and crew always make me proud of how hard they work. ‘Todd’ is one of the darkest shows we’ve ever done. It doesn’t have the subtly of the musical productions. This version is more of a melodrama.”

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The character of Sweeney Todd originally appeared in a Victorian penny dreadful serial (1846-47), known as “The String of Pearls,” involving a serial-killing barber who kills his customers, then works with his landlady Mrs. Lovett to use the meat of his victim for meat pies. The story has been adapted into a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. This musical was adapted into a 2007 movie by Tim Burton, with Johnny Depp in the titular character.

There will be no singing in this production. Instead, Morris Knolls students will be performing a more serious drama by playwrights Jon Jory and Michael Bigelow Dixon.

“As actors, we had to fill in the background of our characters that the musical didn’t have,” said 18-year-old Rockaway Township senior Ryan Murray, who plays Todd himself.

“Being Todd is really cool. I didn’t know much of the story, but as I read the script, I really got into it. Last year’s play was a comedy, but we have completely shifted this season.”

Murray has been in lead roles for the four years he has been at Morris Knolls. His fellow drama classmates were also excited by the more serious tone of “Sweeney Todd;” some of whom, like 14-year-old Lincoln Park freshman Alex Nieves, got to play entirely different roles.

“I often play villains, so I’m super excited for this play,” said Nieves, who plays Tobias, an apprentice of Todd, in his debut at Morris Knolls.

“This show is great, and we’ve put in so much work.”

Even the crew members were thrilled by the new, bigger moving sets and the brand-new props.

“I’m excited to see it all coming together for the show,” said 17-year-old senior Spencer Van-Nest, from Denville, who acts as the stage manager.

“‘Sweeney Todd’ has good acting and good sets.”

Showtime is 7 p.m. on each night. Tickets are $10.


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