Mark Benninghofen sharpens singing voice for Theater Latté Da’s ‘Sweeney Todd’

September 24, 2015 - accent chair

This is Mark Benninghofen’s stage.

At a finish of a prolonged corridor in a Minneapolis Lumber Exchange building, Benninghofen welcomes a caller to Shout Creative — his voice-over and promotion business. The whole operation is in an bureau so little that Benninghofen can’t circle his large executive chair by a slight aisle so he can get out from behind his “banker’s desk.”

No, problem. He hoists a chair — one of those big, comfy commander models — and carries it to a patch of open building subsequent to this reporter. He flashes a big, toothy grin and signals he’s prepared — prepared to put on a Mark Benninghofen show.

And it is a good show. Over 90 minutes, Benninghofen will dump names like confetti, plate luscious off-the-record gossip, quote chunks of Shakespeare, burst adult to impersonate a characters that stock his fluffy dog stories about flourishing adult outward Chicago, bombing during his initial low-pitched try-out in New York, doing radio in L.A., operative with Tony Kushner and sitting nervously in a Ritz Theater run in Minneapolis watchful to hear how his try-out went for a epic pretension purpose of “Sweeney Todd.”

Spoiler warning on that final one: They favourite him and Benninghofen will perform his initial low-pitched museum purpose in Theater Latté Da’s prolongation of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” that opens Saturday.

Sweeney Todd? Nothing like jumping into a low finish of a pool.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

What: Words and song by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Peter Rothstein for Theater Latté Da.

Where: Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE., Mpls.

When: Opens 7:30 p.m. Sat.; 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Oct. 25.

Tickets: $35-$45. 612-339-3003 or

“This is a genuine step-up impulse for me,” he said. “ ‘Sweeney Todd’ is a play that is sung, that’s how we demeanour during it. If we can get by a singing, we know we can tell a story.”

On stage, Benninghofen has a natural, unscrupulous attract and a busy, kinetic appetite — prudent and complicated in gesticulate and posture. His voice is supple, nonetheless in a healthy timbre it cuts like a beef knife.

He’s no opposite on his little theatre of genuine life.

Mark Benninghofen will execute a pretension impression in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.