For 73 years, the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre has produced varied performances and educational opportunities for the community. This fall, they will be telling the story of Sweeney Todd: a barber seeking revenge. The show will run be Oct. 18-20, 24-27, 31 and Nov. 1 on the Stage at Island Park.
It is about Sweeney Todd, a vengeful barber who was unjustly imprisoned for fifteen years by a corrupt judge. Once he returns to London, his need for revenge becomes murderous when he unites with Mrs. Lovett and opens his new practice above her dying meat pie shop. They form a diabolical partnership giving him an opportunity for revenge while providing her a special ingredient for her pies that has people hungry and lining up for more.
The show has a cast of 24 individuals with a 40 year age gap. FMCT has a few Concordia alumni, as well as a current student who is involved in this particular upcoming production.
Adam Pankow, a 2003 Concordia graduate, is the artistic director for FMCT, so he oversees all the productions and production staff. He is also the director of the show “Sweeney Todd.” This will be his third season.
Pankow was involved in the Concordia Theatre and graduated with a B.A. in Theatre. Before being involved with FMCT he was involved with a variety of theatre organizations across the country. Then he decided to go back to school to get his B.S. in English Education from MSUM. Pankow was the Director of Theatre at West Fargo High School and later Sheyenne High School.
“I think you know as a community theater, one of our you know, it’s in our mission to kinda connect different little pockets of our community through art and so whether individuals are here just for, you know for four years in the area for college stuff or if they make you know, have made a lifetime in the Fargo Moorhead area or have relocated in the area, FMCT wants to be that place to connect all of those people with the central connecting thing being a great theater and great art happening on our stage,” Pankow said.
Eloise Breikjern is the executive director for the FMCT and is also a 1976 Concordia graduate. She was the Executive Director for the Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association, the operations director for the Trollwood Performing Arts School, the executive director for the Fargo Theatre, and the executive director for the Red River Boy Choir.
“I believe very strongly that the theater department at Concordia is great and you’re learning a lot. Every time you go out of that little bubble that you’re in, and you work with someone else, see someone else’s work, you learn from that, it’s a different experience. Once you leave your own little theater at Concordia and come here or to NDSU or MState, you’re going to learn something different about the directing of the show or how the director looks at it, they look at it differently,” Breikjern said.
Sam Davis is a junior at Concordia and plays the role of Johanna in this production. It is her first production at FMCT and she knew she had to audition because it was a musical that she and her brother had bonded over.
Davis has been involved with theatre throughout high school as well as one main stage show and a few ten-minute shows at Concordia. She says that in community theatre, it is more laid back and there are different professional standards because it is not professional and everyone is okay with that.
Another main difference is that there are adults and kids and it is not a 19-year-old boy playing a 60-year-old. There are 19-year-olds playing 19-year-olds and 70-year-olds playing 70-year-olds.
“There will be blood. We have a show on Halloween which is exciting. And it’s full of twists and turns and different like theater magic tricks,” Davis said.
“This organization has been a part of the cultural fabric of our community for 73 years,” Pankow said.
For more information go to FMCT.