Neptune Theatre in Halifax kicks-off its 50th season this week with the timeless Victorian-era melodrama Sweeney Todd. Artistic Director George Pothitos takes us behind the scenes.
Why the decision to start the season with Sweeney Todd?We have patrons who love musicals and patrons who love drama, so what better way to embrace both by starting the season with a work of art that not only is on the top 100 list of musicals but a work that is highly theatrical and embodies drama, comedy and music. Simply put, it represents all that is Theatre.
Are there any particular challenges with this production?Yes, musically it is incredibly challenging for the actor/singers and musicians. Stephen Sondheim’s music is known for its complexity and sophistication and this score in particular gives the cast a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their considerable talent.
What can audiences expect to experience during the run?A wonderful production that is visually and aurally exciting.
How did this year's line-up come about?I wanted to celebrate Neptune's 50th anniversary with music, drama and comedy. I also wanted our celebration to include one extra component: to celebrate theatre in Nova Scotia. To achieve this, our season will feature Mulgrave Road Theatre (Guysborough), Ship's Company Theatre (Parsborro) and Eastern Front Theatre (Halifax). We are also co-producing The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. We wanted to celebrate Neptune's50th at our Nation's Capital and focus on an Atlantic story.
Are there any shows that you are particularly excited about?All of them! I try to program every season with a wide variety of shows. I’m trying to give audiences the full spectrum of emotional experience, the broadest range of stories.
Are the expectations on you higher this season, given the 50th anniversary?Expectations are always high for Neptune. The productions are larger this season, so the challenge is greater – but we are up for it! We want to create a fabulous season for our audiences to enjoy, talk about and, most of all, remember.