Belmont alumni return for Nashville Rep. production of Sweeney Todd

Two Belmont University alumni, Nathan and Whitney Meyer, well- established in the musical theater scene of New York City are returning to Nashville for the month of Oct. to visit their alma mater and perform in “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

The Meyers graduated from Belmont in 2009 and almost immediately moved to New York City to pursue a career together onstage.

After five years of building their careers in and around New York, the talented couple has returned to Nashville to perform in “Sweeney Todd” during the month of October.

“We have always wanted to do ‘Sweeney Todd’ because it is very different from other musicals and it is performed so rarely. It was definitely a bucket list type of thing for us,” said Whitney Meyer.

“Sweeney Todd,” which will be performed by the Nashville Repertory Theater every Tuesday through Saturday from now until Nov. 1, is a musical thriller created by Stephen Sondheim.

The Meyers portray the lovestruck couple of Anthony and Johanna that lighten up the otherwise gruesome tragedy of “Sweeney Todd.”

“This is also the first chance that either of us have had to perform Sondheim. We really wanted to take that opportunity because having this on our resume shows that we have some chops,” Meyer explained.

The talented couple met at Belmont as transfer students coming into the musical theater program, which was, and still is, relatively small.

The musical theater program was really new then and the majors tended to be kind of secluded, so we spent a lot of time together and started dating fairly quickly, Mr. Meyer said.

After graduating in May of 2009, the couple spent the summer working together in a theater in Pennsylvania before getting married that fall.

“We were very close to New York City and would often go there on our days off to apartment hunt,” said Whitney Meyer.

Since their graduation, the Meyers have worked on seven different productions together, including “Hairspray,” “Xanadu” and now “Sweeney Todd.”

“We love working together. We are one of those couples that compliment each other. My weaknesses are his strengths,” said Whitney Meyer.

“I think that is why we have done so many shows together. We just enjoy it. But, I have noticed that one negative of performing together is that her nerves become my nerves. I get nervous for her and anxiously wait backstage to see if she made it through a difficult part or something,” said Meyer.

Since graduating, the Meyers have successfully established themselves as New York actors and they attributed much of their success to things learned at Belmont.

Belmont never sugarcoated anything. They were very honest about the fact that this career is difficult. That was probably the hardest, but most helpful lesson, said Whitney Meyer.

The couple is excited to be back to see all of the changes taking place in Belmont and around Nashville.

“It’s wonderful that Nashville has built up more of a theater presence. I wish it were here when we were. We didn’t have as much opportunity to take advantage of the professional companies around here,” said Meyer.

The couple encourages current Belmont students to take advantage of Nashville’s theater culture, specifically by seeing “Sweeney Todd” this month.

“Sweeney Todd” tickets are available through TPAC’s website and Belmont students receive a discount by using promo code “BELMONT.”

Viewers should be warned that intense fog and loud noises will be used during the performance.

PHOTO: Shane Burkeen, courtesy of Nashville Rep.

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