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A sharp role for this Sky­light The­atre ac­tor.

BY HIS COUNT, An­drew Varela and his wife, Su­san Spencer, have 10 na­tional Broad­way mu­si­cal tours be­tween them. But now that they have set­tled in the Mil­wau­kee area, they’ve been fix­tures in the Sky­light The­atre’s mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions, shar­ing the stage in Les Mis­er­ables and The Wizard of Oz. This month, Varela takes the stage as the ti­tle char­ac­ter in Sweeney Todd, the land­mark mu­si­cal by Stephen Sond­heim about a bar­ber trans­formed by the de­sire for re­venge. Paul Kosidowski talked to him about the role.

Has Sweeney Todd been on your radar for a while? This role is at the top of my bucket list. I’ve wanted to play it since I saw the PBS broad­cast of the play in 1981. I’ve spo­ken to Sond­heim about it at cock­tail par­ties. In fact, I was sit­ting on the sofa next to him when he found out that the Sweeney Todd movie won the Golden Globe.

How are you ap­proach­ing it? I want to show a man who isn’t like what he be­comes. I want to be able to see ev­ery step of the trans­for­ma­tion. It’s so huge, so vol­canic. I’m al­ready in train­ing for it. That in­volves ex­er­cise, singing ev­ery day, tak­ing care of my­self. This is my Iron­man. I’m Rocky. I’m drink­ing my eggs, coach!

What’s more fun to play — good guys or bad guys? Bad guys, all day long!


Sweeney Todd (May 19-June 11), Broad­way The­atre, 158 N. Broad­way, sky­light­mu­sicthe­

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