MANHATTAN - Kansas State University’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will present the musical Into the Woods in the Mark A. Chapman Theatre in Nichols Hall, Nov. 2-12.
Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s family-friendly musical follows the story of a Baker and his Wife, who are trying to reverse an evil spell by the Witch. On their journey into the woods, they meet Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and other well-known characters, who are looking to have their own wishes granted.
In its initial run, many thought the piece to be Sondheim’s response to the AIDS epidemic with its first act focused on the fairy-tale characters achieving “happily ever after” and the second act when they must face death and destruction by an indiscriminate Giant on a rampage throughout the kingdom.
“With a season focused on identity, community and responsibility, KSU theatre sought titles that spoke to our current political climate,” Jerry Jay Cranford, Assistant Professor in KSU’s Theatre Department, said. “As the director, I wanted to bring a fun, modern, adult-like take to the fairy-tale world with a non-realistic forest inspired by images from the old Studio 54.”
Cranford is also using two males in typically female roles - the stepmother and Milky White the cow.
“Casting a male as Milky White plays into Jack’s constant confusion with pronouns,” Cranford explains. “The cow will be portrayed in a more human form by a male blurring the gender lines and drawing more attention to Jack’s relationship with his pet.”
Lucero Padilla, a student from Topeka, plays Cinderella’s step-mother. Cranford describes him as having “an incred-ibly forceful tenor range.”
The costuming is colorful and modern with inspiration taken from Vivienne Westwood to the 1980s glam rock to current hipster culture.
“’Happily ever after’ is a never-ending search,” Cranford says, “but in order for it to be achieved even momentarily, the characters must pull together, shunning societal structure, to create a new understanding of community and family in order to conquer the Giant. Sound familiar?”
Into the Woods runs Nov. 2-4 and 9-11 at 7:30pm with Sunday matinees Nov. 5 and 12 at 2:30pm.
“Family Day in the Woods” events will be held following the Sunday Matinee performances. These Meet and Greet events allow audience members to talk to the show characters and take pictures with them. Children under five are not admitted into K-State Theatre Productions.
Tickets are available online at ksu.edu/mtd/tickets, by phone at 785-236-8638, or at the door one hour prior to show time.
Admission is $19.50, $17.50 for seniors, military, faculty and staff or $14 for students and youth. l