August 21, 2015 By Graydon Royce Star Tribune
Actor Mark Benninghofen will perform the title role in Theater Latte Da’s production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which opens Sept. 26 at the Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis.
Artistic director Peter Rothstein said over coffee Friday that he chose the longtime Guthrie favorite to play alongside Sally Wingert’s Mrs. Lovett andTyler Michaels’ Tobias Ragg. Rothstein will direct the production with music direction from Denise Prosek, his longtime associate at Latte Da.
Benninghofen is known principally for dramatic portrayals. He played Joxer Daly in Joe Dowling’s recently concluded staging of “Juno and the Paycock”at the Guthrie. He was Gen. U.S. Grant in “Appomattox” also at the Guthrie. He and Wingert performed “Shooting Star” at Park Square this past April.
In another memorable performance, Benninghofen played architect Ralph Rapson in Jeffrey Hatcher’s excellent 2008 play “Tyrone and Ralph,”about the Guthrie founder and the man who designed the theater’s original building.
Benninghofen also appears in Patrick Coyle's film, "The Public Domain,"which was just re-released.
Rothstein said Benninghofen inquired about the role and came in for a tryout with Prosek. The director liked the actor’s voice well enough (“the role is a big sing,” Rothstein said) and there has never been any question about Benninghofen’s ability to play gritty, unseemly characters. “Sweeney” is, after all, a guy who slits throats and makes meat pies of his victims.
Rothstein said the Stephen Sondheim piece is perhaps his favorite musical theater work. The Latte Da production runs to Oct. 25 at the Ritz. Info and season packages are at theaterlatteda.com
Single tickets for “Sweeney” go on sale on Monday, Aug. 24.