Stepping Into The Woods with Venice Theatre

Stage

BY KATE ANTOLAK SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY AUG 3, 2018

Venice Theatre’s Summer Stock program, an opportunity for young actors to perform while not in school, is back with an exciting new show. Into the Woods, a musical with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, opens tonight at 7:30pm and will run every night but Monday for the next week. 2pm matinees have also been scheduled for this Sunday, as well as next Saturday and Sunday.

The show centers around iconic characters from Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack the Giant-Slayer, and the wants of the characters within those stories. The first act follows four protagonists into the woods as they pursue those wishes and the expected “happily ever after” beyond them. But things take a darker turn in the second act as Sondheim asks, “At what price do you achieve happily ever after?” As director and choreographer Brad Wages says, “The first act is for children; the second act is for adults.”

The cast of the show, high school and college-age performers, all conducted some of their own research during the rehearsal process. From historical research on the life of the composer to societal conflicts at the time of the play’s conception to the analysis of meaningful lyrics, young actors in the Summer Stock program are asked to find meaning in the show, as opposed to merely soaking up its limelight. Bringing contemporary issues to the rehearsal process has helped the cast see past their fairy tale roles, says Wages. “It deepens their feelings toward the show,” he says.

And if you think this is just a fairy tale, think again, says Wages. “It’s thought provoking; it’s humorous,” he says. “It gives people pause about their own lives, because they see their own reflections on the face of a fairy tale character.”

This production is not recommended for children under 10, and parental discretion is advised. Tickets for the opening show, tonight at 7:30pm, can be purchased at venicestage.com.

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