How is it working together? Do you give each other feedback or pointers?
JACK BENNETT: We have done several productions together over the years, and we work with each other daily running the theatre. People seem to be amazed how we do this and still love each other! We wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the years we have developed an understanding of the different things that we each deal with, and it works pretty well. Especially for this show, we rehearsed together on our own. A LOT. It is really nice to have the actual stage to rehearse on whenever you want. Gloria is the voice teacher and musician, so I go to her for music questions, and we run lines and songs together. I help her with memorizing, since that is the thing that comes more easily to me.
GLORIA BENNETT: I absolutely adore working with my husband both on stage and off. We met, both being cast in, an Equity production of the musical Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up, 23 years ago – then were both cast in a 3 year tour of I Love you You’re Perfect Now Change, then 18 months of Tony and Tinas Wedding, all before getting married 17 years ago, so we have extensive experience in trusting each other on stage, which allows you to really let your guard down and respond more naturally. Off stage we work together 7 days a week running out youth theatre company. We created Young Stars Theatre 23 years ago and it has evolved into a beautiful thriving place for youth ages 3-18 to get professional training while boosting their confidence and teaching them a strong work ethic both individually and as a team (with their fellow cast members). Our daughter Miranda Miller, age 24 is also in Sweeney Todd and it is extra special as it is the first time the 3 of us have been in a show together! miranda has been on stage since the age of 3 and had her first Equity role at the age of 8, and was in a well known band that was signed to 2 big record labels, and toured the word several times over – she did this from the age of 12-22 but alas, the touring life was not for her and she finds herself back on stage!
What do you admire and dislike about your characters?
JB: I admire Sweeney’s tenacity and single mindedness, the way he clings tenaciously to his plan and never considers giving up until the thing is accomplished. The fact that he feels nothing for those around him, that he has actually lost his ability to feel affection and simply uses people as a means to an end, is not his best quality.
GB: I admire that even after the loss of her husband, Mrs. Lovett strives to keep her business alive, no matter what it takes, and that when she is reunited with Todd, she is not afraid to go after this man who she has always had a fondness for. Having the idea to cook a corpse into pies and to continue to kill people to keep that business thriving, not my idea of a positive character trait – but hey, anything it takes to survive, right???
Ms. Bennett, why does Ms. Lovett stay loyal to Sweeney?
Obsessive love, fear of being alone, and he is all in for whatever it takes to survive.
Mr. Bennett, do you think Sweeney is misunderstood or is he a murderous thug?
Both. What man would not want revenge on the person/people who raped his wife and mother of his child and discarded her? His motives, at least, have some merit. His actual practice of killing innocents for purely selfish gain makes him a murderous thug.
What is coming up for the both of you, together and separately?
GB: We are in rehearsals with our youth theatre company for Seussical Jr., and are about to audition for The Wizard of Oz. We are planning our extensive Summer Theatre Camp program and as always, I teach private voice lessons and show choir classes, and Jack coaches actors as well as goes on TV/Film/Commercial auditions through his Agent and Manager. We are being encouraged to make a yearly adult show with us playing roles a tradition, so that is being mulled over as well.
JB: What Gloria said! There isn’t really time for separately! And that’s ok! That said, I am strongly considering auditioning for a favorite show at another theatre soon, but I’ll keep that under wraps for now.
Don’t miss this fabulous show with its awesome couple who bring life to their characters. Show ends this Saturday, February 1st. 2 p.m. matinee and an 8 p.m. show. Visit www.youngstarstheatre.org/tickets.