Westerville Central High School thespians will present one of the darkest musicals of the genre as they stage "Sweeney Todd."
Performances for the school edition, meant for mature audiences, are at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at the high school, 7118 Mount Royal Ave.
The musical focuses on a Victorian-era barber who returns home to London after 15 years of exile to take revenge on a corrupt judge who ruined his life, according to Katie Elkins, co-president of Central's theater boosters.
When revenge eludes him, he swears vengeance on the entire human race, murdering as many people as he can, while his business associate, Mrs. Lovett, bakes the bodies into meat pies and sells them to the unsuspecting public.
Ethan Zink, who plays Sweeney Todd, said it's a fun role to play.
"He's a serial killer," he said. "So you have to find the mix of anger and chaos but also still find the mix that he's just a regular dude. It says in one of the songs, his voice was soft as manner mild. He's a mild-mannered dude who's gotten around, but it's just finding that mix and being able to do both, so it's really fun.
"Our set is going to be fantastic," he said. "It's just going to be a great show."
Olivia Horlocker plays a beggar woman, who is basically Sweeney's wife, she said.
"She goes crazy, which is kind of why I love playing her," Horlocker said. "She just has so much energy because she's insane. And I like funneling all my energy into that so I can have fun on stage.
"It's super interactive," she said of the show. "It's really powerful, too. It not only has your dark twists ... but it also has some humor to it. It's super-duper entertaining. And the music is crazy good."
Katherine Ganobsik, who plays Johanna, said audiences will enjoy the aspect that they're fully immersed in the show and part of the story.
"There's a lot of intricate parts that you don't see coming and it's very surprising," she said. "One of the things I love most about the show is the audience involvement."
Brandon Wuebker plays the role of Beadle Bamford in the show.
"Beadle is a very positive character outwardly," he said. "He's also very conceited."
Wuebker said his character is the judge's enforcer.
"You change your attitude so much (about the character)," he said. "I look nice, but I'm not."
Elkins said "Sweeney Todd" was chosen because of the challenge it offers students.
She said there's an opportunity for audience members to sit on stage and become one of the barber's "victims."
Other main cast members include Lauren Tucker, who plays Mrs. Lovett, and Jacob Miller, who plays Anthony.
Derryck Menard directs and Stephanie Matushoneck serves as producer.
Tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased online at wchstheatre.org.