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2012-13 DePauw Theatre Season Opens with Into the Woods

September 18, 2012

In Into the Woods, DePauw Theatre’s first production of the 2012-13 season, audiences are met with familiar fairy tale characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel. But the musical soon diverges from the common narrative to pose some difficult questions about the meaning of community and how we treat each other. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine and direction by DePauw associate professor of communication and theatre Tim Good, Into the Woods carefully balances the macabre and comic and it negotiates the morals of traditional German folklore. (top photo: Emily Barnash/Witch, Erik Erlandson/Baker, Claire Wilkinson/Baker’s Wife)

The production opens Thursday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Moore Theatre of the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts. Performances will continue Friday and Saturday, September 28 and 29, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a matinee performance on Sunday, September 30, at 3 p.m. (photo at left: Elleka Okerstrom/Little Red Riding Hood)

Into the Woods draws its inspiration from Children’s and Household Tales, a collection of German fairy tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. The Grimm versions, as many are surprised to discover, place a heavier emphasis on violence and sexuality than today’s re-tellings, intending to showcase the consequences of characters’ actions. By similarly refusing to reduce the themes of a fairy tale to the predictable “good versus evil,” Into the Woods demands that audiences constantly reexamine its characters actions and motivations. Every act -- including the morally upright and even the banal -- has unforeseen consequences on all of the characters. Who, for instance, could anticipate that a bean Cinderella carelessly tosses away would produce the beanstalk from which a vengeful Giant will descend? And appearances are not always as they seem. As the Baker tells us in Act II, “Witches can be right, giants can be good.”

Premiering on Broadway in 1987, Into the Woods was the winner of several Tony Awards, including Best Score and Best Book, and originally featured critically acclaimed performances by Bernadette Peters (Witch) and Joanna Gleason (Baker’s Wife). Into the Woodscomes to life on the DePauw University stage through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and cooperation between DePauw's department of communication and theatre and the School of Music. (seen at right: Claire Wilkinson/Baker’s Wife, Erik Erlandson/Baker, Joey Leppek/Jack, Emily Barnash/Witch, Emily Smith/Cinderella, Elleka Okerstrom/Little Red Riding Hood)

Supported by a full orchestra, the stirring music of Stephen Sondheim is brought to life to remind us that even though the “woods” are dark and dim, our strength lies in the fact that we all depend on “you, me, her and him.”

Tickets for Into the Woods are $3 for students and $6 for adults and are available for purchase at the Green Center for the Performing Arts Center Box Office, which is open Monday-through-Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are available online. Get information by calling (765) 658-4827 or email greencenter@depauw.edu. (bottom image: Emily Smith/Cinderella)

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