Meet the Cast of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ Part 4: Carolyn Freel

In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the director and cast of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s Sweeney Todd meet Carolyn Freel.

Barker Family Portrait Beggar Woman, Johanna, Sweeney Todd (L-R): Lauren Lowell, Carolyn Freel, Chad Wheeler.
(L-R): Lauren Lowell (Beggar Woman), Carolyn Freel (Johnna), and Chad Wheeler (Sweeney Todd).

Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages before and what shows you and roles you have appeared in and played.

Carolyn: I’m Carolyn Freel. You haven’t seen me on any local stages. This is my first show in 10 years!

Why did you want to appear in this production of Sweeney Todd? Have you appeared in other productions of Sweeney and if yes-who did u play?

I wanted to do Sweeney Todd because I am a huge Sondheim fan. I love listening to and singing his music. I have not been in Sweeney before.

How is this production similar or different from other productions you have appeared in, or seen?

Our production differs from others I’ve seen in that it is very intimate and interactive with the audience which is going to make for a very exciting show!

Who do you play and how do you relate to your character?

I play Johanna. One of the biggest challenges with this part is that I don’t relate to her much. We both enjoy singing and needlework. Thats about it.

What have been some of the challenges preparing for your role?

As mentioned before, I don’t relate much to her so I’ve had to pull from other sources. Also, Johanna is a very vocally demanding role so I have had to brush up on my classical technique.

How would you describe Stephen Sondheim’s score for Sweeney Todd?

Sondheim’s score perfectly describes every character, every scene, and every emotion. As complex as his music is, it is intuitive once you understand what picture he is going for with each song. Once you get over the initial learning of the score, his songs sing themselves.

What is your favorite song that you don’t sing in the show and why?

My Friends is my favorite song that I don’t sing in the show. It is a very unique song. I can’t think of any like it. It is dream-like and just a little creepy. The melody sounds like something a violin would play. Mrs. Lovett’s harmonies are atypical, yet absolutely gorgeous. And Chad sounds amazing on it.

What is your solo and duet and what do we learn about your character as you sing these songs?

In “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” we learn that Johanna relates herself to a caged bird. In “Kiss Me” I and II, we learn that Johanna is a little paranoid and really wants to kiss Anthony.

What has been the most challenging scenes/songs to learn and perform and how has your director helped you to overcome these challenges?

“Kiss Me Part II” is definitely the most challenging song and scene that I am in in the show. Half of it is very fast and has a lot of words and the other have lives in my passaggio. I knew it was going to be tough so I made sure it was memorized by the time we went into the blocking rehearsal. Fortunately, TJ’s blocking is natural and my counterpart and I have good chemistry so the scene began to flow nicely after a coupe of tries.

What do you admire most about your castmates’ performances?

Everything. I sit in rehearsals in disbelief that I am actually in a show performing alongside a cast as talented as ours. Everyone there is a seasoned performer and really knows their stuff. Chad and Kay are amazing as individual actors, and as counterparts they are mind-blowing. Sophia is the most talented 11 year old I’ve ever met and probably will ever meet. Daniel, Michael and Andrew are perfect for their parts and have obviously worked super hard to master their demanding roles. I am so grateful for the amount of knowledge and experience my counterpart Garrett has and for how much he has supported me at rehearsal. Lauren is so much fun and so easy to work with and always knows how to get a good laugh out of us. The ensemble is small but mighty. They are all such strong actors and singers and look and sound so great on stage especially considering their part is extremely difficult.

What does Sweeney Todd have to say to modern theatregoers? Why do you think it is still so popular?

Sweeney Todd is far from your average musical. The music is great. The story is easy to follow. It is twisted, yet still has elements of comedy and romance to lighten things up.

What is your favorite kind of pie?

French Silk Pie. I don’t know if that really counts as a pie, but it has the word “pie” in the name.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Sweeney Todd at Laurel Mill Playhouse.

I don’t know if I should want this or not, but I want them to leave mildly disturbed.


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street plays October 23, 2015 through November 15, 2015 at Laurel Mill Playhouse – 508 Main Street, in Laurel, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 617-9906, or purchase them online.


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street plays October 23, 2015 through November 15, 2015 at Laurel Mill Playhouse – 508 Main Street, in Laurel, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 617-9906, or purchase them online.


Meet the Cast of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s ‘Sweeney Todd’: Part 1: Director TJ Lukacsina.

Meet the Cast of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s ‘Sweeney Todd’: Part 2: Chad Wheeler.

Meet the Cast of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s ‘Sweeney Todd’: Part 3: Kay-Megan Washington.

Meet the Cast of Laurel Mill Playhouse’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ Part 4: Carolyn Freel.

Em Skow reviews ‘Sweeney Todd’ on DCMetroTheaterArts.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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