By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
The Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, in conjunction with the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, will host a production of the musical “Sweeney Todd.”
Scheduled to take place Feb. 15 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus, the performance is to benefit Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies.
Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies is a “collective group of artists and arts organizations among Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties, all looking to jointly promote and protect the arts community,” according to the organization’s official website, www.artscoa.org.
This performance of “Sweeney Todd” stars both Broadway and local performers. The cast includes Scott Logsdon as Sweeney, Liz McCartney as Mrs. Lovett, Mary Setrakian as Beggar Woman, Michael Marra as Judge Turpin, Buck Dietz as Pirelli, Mickey Orange as Anthony, Noelle Patrick as Johanna, Isaac McNulty as Tobias, Jeffrey Webb as The Beadle, Mary B. Mauzy as Lucy and Nathan Magee as Fogg.
Logsdon was an original cast member in the national company of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, “Les Miserables,” a show he also appeared in on Broadway and internationally. Other stage credits include “The Fantasticks,” “South Pacific” and “Chess in Concert.” Logsdon has performed for former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore, and has been invited to the White House twice as a guest of the Clintons.
McCartney created the role of Sue Tilly in the Boy George Broadway musical “Taboo,” which was produced by Rosie O’Donnell. Most recently, she has been touring with the Papermill Theater Co.’s production of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.” McCartney has also starred in “Into The Woods,” “Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” This year she’s celebrating 20 years on Broadway.
Setrakian made her Broadway debut in “Hello, Dolly!” alongside Carol Channing. She toured the United States and Europe, performing in shows such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables” and “Evita.” Working as a voice teacher, Setrakian prepared Nicole Kidman for her Golden Globe Award-winning and Oscar-nominated performance in Baz Luhrman’s “Moulin Rouge.” She has also worked with Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Mandy Moore, Bobby Cannavale and Mary J. Blige.
Fellow Broadway star Marra appeared in “Les Miserables” and “Jekyll and Hyde,” among others. His off-Broadway credits include “Shakespeare Off-Key,” “Choices: The Musical” and “The Redemption of Jamie Harris.” Since moving back to Pennsylvania from New York, Marra has starred in Pittsburgh CLO’s production of “The Producers” and has also appeared on the Mountain Playhouse stage in “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Annie Get Your Gun.”
Orange has previously starred in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Children of Eden” and “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.” He is currently a junior at St. Vincent College and holds a major in biology and a minor in Spanish.
Patrick is a member of St. Vincent College’s student-run theater group, The Company, where she has been cast in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Nine to Five.” She is a graduate of Cambria Heights High School, where she played the roles of Johanna in “Sweeney Todd,” Crystal in “Little Shop of Horrors” and Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden.” Patrick is a sophomore biology major at St. Vincent College.
Vocalist and musician McNulty has been to PMEA Region III Chorus (2014) and to PMEA All-State Orchestra as a cellist (2014). He also played bass in the Altoona Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestra Teresa Cheung. His acting credits include “Les Miserables,” “Bonechiller” and “Camp Rock: The Musical.” Dietz’s stage credits include “Children of Eden,” “Promises, Promises” and “The Secret Garden.” He also appeared in the national tour of “The Sound of Music” with Marie Osmond. He most recently played “Roger Sherman in 1776” at The Cape Playhouse opposite Christiane Noll and George Lee Andrews. His TV credits include “Guiding Light,” “All My Children,” “Surprise by Design” and “Sex and the City.”
Webb serves as associate professor of music and director of choral activities at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Allegheny College and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Binghamton University. Since joining the Pitt-Johnstown faculty in 2001, Webb has taught courses in music theory, western art music, critical listening, jazz and popular music. He also conducts the Pitt-Johnstown Concert Choir and Chamber Choir. His theater credits as an actor and musical director include “Aint’ Misbehavin’,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” among others.
The ensemble and chorus features Jean Arcurio, Tony Anthony, Scott “Biff” Baron, Kevin Bean, Mallory Bean, Ariana Bittner, Maggie Borodach, Jayme Brooks, Alexis Buncich, Nathan Cook, Johnna Cwik, Josh Devett, Kelly Devett, Laura Eidem, Tessa Evans, Emily Felton, Sam Fuge, Cassandra Gallina, Amber M. Gobbel, Matt Harris, Cheyenne Helsel, Carrie Law, Mari Grace Lingenfelter, Tony Malvoisin, Mary B. Mauzy, Chris McAllister, Jacob Meager, Michael Nicholson, Jennifer M. Oaks, Jonathan Pauley, Morgan Rickley, Joshua Rinaman, Hunter Tresnicky, Ian Wieczorek, Kelly Jo Wise, Gregory Zaborowski and Rachel Zaborowski. Zach Leventry, Emily Peters and Paul Tretter are also part of the cast, and Matt Thomas is to serve as musical director.
Logsdon, who is not only acting in the production but also serving as its director, said that he is excited to bring this performance to Johnstown.
“This is one of those really rare shows where everything feels great,” Logsdon said. “I’m trying to not get ahead of myself and get depressed that it’s almost over.
Everybody (in the cast) is excited. I get messages and emails from them frequently, saying they can’t wait.”
Choosing to perform “Sweeney Todd” was a no-brainer for everyone involved behind the scenes, he added.
“I think it’s the most perfectly written musical of all time,” he said. “There are certainly other shows that are very good, but taking it apart and studying it, there’s not a weak link in the material. Plus, this show allows us to use a large talent pool.
“I think the Johnstown audience will be astonished at the level of talent we have in this show. It was funny because we originally planned for the cast to be much smaller, but we got to auditions and amazing person after amazing person kept coming in. The numbers just kept bumping up. For the local audience to see five Broadway veterans and many local performers, it’s a big bang for their buck.”
The performance is to begin at 2 p.m. All seats are reserved. The production is rated PG-13.
Logsdon said he’s not sure if an annual production to benefit Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies will continue to take place in the years to come, but he’s certainly open to the opportunity.
“Since this is going so well, it would be great if there would be other shows to pop up down the road,” Logsdon said. “Raising money for the arts is a great way to remind people how important art really is.”