MPT Artistic Director Thomas J. Kasdorf explores his darker side as the titular Sweeney Todd. Keep reading to find out how Thomas relates to his character, his strangest experience on stage, and which Sweeney Todd characters his cats are named after!
Are you a Madison native? If not, what brought you to the area?
I’m a proud Middletonian.
What do you do when you’re not performing/working in the theatre? Do you have a daytime job?
I’m very fortunate to be almost always performing or working in the theatre in some capacity. But in the daytime, I’m a full time student at UW Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music, working towards my DMA in Collaborative Piano.
What was your first stage show and who did you play?
Children’s Theatre of Madison’s The Wizard of Oz in 1998. I played a member of the Lollipop Guild.
What is your favorite theatre memory?
Playing Jason in Falsettos at University Theatre. The cast was such a family, the production staff was exceptional, the audiences were so warm and inviting, I never wanted it to end.
What was your strangest experience in theatre?
Hands down: Waking up onstage in the middle of a performance of Cabaret at the keyboard, in the middle of the number “Mein Herr,” with my hands playing.
What is your favorite theatrical work?
My favorite theatrical works are Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.
What do you enjoy about your character Sweeney Todd? In what ways are you similar or dissimilar to your character?
I appreciate Sweeney’s determination and focus, his single mindedness towards achieving his goals. Although I hope that I am not altogether similar to my character, I have been told by people that I have much in common with Sweeney’s brooding attitude.
What would you like audiences to know about this show?
I think that this show really explores so many themes beautifully: justice, revenge, greed, love, and loss. And for all its intensity, this show is exceptionally funny in a dark and twisted kind of way.
Give us a fun fact about yourself.
I have two beautiful fur babies at home named after characters in this show: Sweeney Todd and Lucy. Sweeney is a tuxedo cat and Lucy is his sister. I’m basically trying to replicate all of Sweeney’s insanity and menace for my character research. Anybody got any catnip?