Critically acclaimed book, movie and musical “Into the Woods” will premiere at the University of Wisconsin Thursday, Feb. 21. The show brings together stories from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel.
In the musical, the characters are all searching for a wish to make their lives better. After some have their wishes granted, it doesn’t turn out exactly how they thought it would, and the characters’ paths cross in this fairy tale classic.
UW’s University Theater and University Opera have joined together to present the musical this spring, whose music and lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim.
The show is produced by UW professors, including director David Ronis and stage manager Jahana Azodi. Students assisted in lighting, design, costume, backstage, production coordination, acting, music and marketing. Assistant stage manager and UW student Molly Frisch is excited to be working with the cast, and she knows their hard work will pay off soon.
Frisch deals with any of the physical aspects of the show, like scene and costume changes. Though the show will be ready for viewers this Thursday, Frisch said the production experienced multiple setbacks. Frisch said the public doesn’t realize how much effort has been put into the show by students and staff. She wants to give a huge shoutout to all those who have helped in its process.
“In this day and age, the arts is so often shelved off as something ‘creative,’” Frisch said. “Once I got into stage management, I realized so much of it is the designers taking the mathematics, the budget, the physics of it all … counting for weight, height, temperature, atmospherics. It’s taking all the analytical stuff … and marrying it with that beauty of art and creativeness and flow.”
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Frisch said the audience can expect a multitude of different mechanics, as the show even includes flying dresses.
“Into the Woods” talks about different fairy tales, but a lot of them intertwine together.
“It’s a show that has a little something for everyone,” Frisch said. “It brings them to life, and it makes them real people. I think Cinderella says it best in the show when she talks to the prince and she says, ‘My father’s house was a nightmare, your house is a dream. I’m looking for something in between.’ The thing about this show is that it really does take that beautiful part of the magic of those classic fairy tales, and it really puts them in situations that we deal with in every day.”
Frisch said these situations could be something like having your partner cheat on you, not being able to have a child or not being able to financially support your family. She said the show is relatable while also being family-friendly.
Michael Kelley, who plays the baker in “Into the Woods,” said the show is really about family. Kelley said the show starts off seeming childish, but that “it’s an incredibly mature show, despite the fact that it’s about fairy tales.”
Kelley said he loves the music in “Into the Woods.” He said that whoever goes to see the show will most likely continue listening to the soundtrack afterward.
Kelley is a baritone, and he loves to sing. His favorite song in “Into the Woods” is “Stay with Me.” He said the song has “loose” rhythms and is a free-flowing piece that stands out in the show.
“Every piece of music in ‘Into the Woods’ has this motor built into it,” Kelley said. “This driving motor that pushes the show forward.”
Kelley has found it to be an incredible experience working in “Into the Woods.” Of the multiple shows he has been a part of, “Into the Woods” has some of his favorite music.
He finds the design “mind-blowing,” and he said everyone’s hard work has been and will pay off.
“Come to the show,” Kelley said. “You won’t be disappointed.”
Tickets cost $10 for UW students and $32 for the general public. The show will run from Feb. 21-24.