Fine lines: This family has memorized more than a few for Northwest Savoyards productions

  • By Theresa Goffredo Herald writer
  • Friday, October 10, 2008 4:58pm
  • Life

Ask Seth, Barbara and Jonathon Fine to finish this sentence “The family that acts together….” and you get various answers:

Watches each other’s backs together. Plays together. And, the classic, stays together. Of course it’s much more than that.

“It totally bonds us more,” said Barbara Fine. “You’re together a lot and you get to be in all these wonderful shows and meet other wonderful people and it’s just a really good, nurturing environment.”

The Fine Family, father and husband Seth, 52, mother and wife Barbara, 55, and 15-year-old son Jonathon have performed together in three different shows, “The Music Man,” “HMS Pinafore” and “Trial by Jury,” all for the Northwest Savoyards. On Friday, this Fine family of actors will appear in their fourth production: Stephen Sondheim’s musical drama “Sweeney Todd,” which kicks off the new season for Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley.

This sweeping Sondheim masterpiece is based on the tale of Benjamin Barker, who loses his freedom and family to a man of power but extracts revenge as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, turning his customers into meat pies.

“Sweeney” is one of Barbara Fine’s favorite musicals. She auditioned, but Seth, with other things on his plate, hadn’t planned on her joining her. In the end, he couldn’t break up the family.

“It’s something we all very much enjoy,” said Seth, a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor by day.

“It’s challenging,” Barbara said. “Seth works in Everett, I work in Edmonds and Jonathon is in school in Lynnwood, but it’s worth it.”

For Seth and Barbara, the theater is where it all began. Seth was a pirate and Barbara was one of Major-General Stanley’s daughters when the two first met on the set of the “Pirates of Penzance” in 1983 in a Seattle production.

“I had really tight muscles and he gave me a backrub, so 21 years and two sons later, here we are,” recalled Barbara. The couple have another son, Jordan, who just started college.

For younger son Jonathon, a 10th grader at Meadowdale High School, working with his parents gives him a built-in buddy system onstage.

“Basically I just have somebody to do stuff with and relate to so I don’t feel all alone,” he said.

For Barbara and Seth, “Sweeney” will be their seventh show together as a couple. As always, the two practice lines together, listen to the music together and sing a lot with the recordings. The theater seems to keep playing the encore in this marriage.

“The rough parts don’t stem from being in theater together,” Seth Fine said. “These are the fun parts.”

Reporter Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424 or

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at South Whidbey High School, 5675 Maxwelton Road, Langley. The show runs through Nov. 1. Tickets are $12 to $20 with discounts available for students and groups. Call 360-221-8268, 800-638-763,

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