Houston’s newest theatre company, The Garden Theatre, brings the Sondheim classic Into the Woods to the MATCH with a fresh, imaginative take on the celebrated musical. Reimagined with a cast of ten and set in a library during children’s story time, the production will run October 22-31, 2021 at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (3400 Main St.) in the heart of midtown.
Founding Artistic Director and director of this production, Logan Vaden, says, “I grew up in libraries. My very first memories are of those sitting in story time led by an enthusiastic children’s librarian in brightly colored clothes and silly hats. The first thing I ever said I wanted to be when I grew up was a librarian. It truly is what sparked my imagination as a child, and what has always been my driving force behind trying to think outside of the box when it comes to theatrical productions. It seemed only fitting that our first full production be Into the Woods. There’s so much imagination and heart in this piece. Not to mention, we can go straight to the source of where so many of our imaginations began with ‘Once Upon a Time…'”
Because of its long running success and audiences’ familiarity with the musical, The Garden Theatre has decided to take a different approach: While still performed in a theatre, The Garden’s production of Into the Woods will be reimagined into a library during a children’s story time. Thirty minutes before curtain, story time will begin with the Narrator reading children’s stories to the audience as they arrive and take their seats. At curtain, “volunteers” will be selected from the audience to help tell the larger than life tale of The Baker, his Wife, and the characters they meet along the way. Imaginatively using everyday items you would find in a library as set pieces, props, and costumes, the cast of ten will begin to transform the library into the deep forest of far, far away.
Into the Woods tells the story of The Baker and his Wife who long to have a child of their own. The neighborhood Witch throws a wrench in their plan when she reveals that she has placed a curse on their family, forbidding them to ever have children. There is a way to reverse the curse, though. The Baker and his Wife must venture into the woods to retrieve a list of oddly-specific items to appease the Witch. Along the way, they encounter other familiar fairy tale personalities, like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame), all of whom are also searching for their hearts’ desires, just like the Baker and his Wife are. This lively mish-mash of fairy tales ensures an evening of hilarity, realization, and heartbreak. At the end of the piece we are left asking what the price of happiness is, and if it’s worth it once we achieve our happily ever after.
Into the Woods is a classic in its own right with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. First appearing on the Broadway stage in 1987, the musical has been performed on stages across the world and was adapted into a Disney-produced feature film in 2014 starring Meryl Streep.
The cast of Into the Woods are all local professionals consisting of Anthony Savage-Williams as The Baker, Ronna Mansfield as The Baker’s Wife, David Allen III as The Narrator/Mysterious Man, Osiris Hart as The Witch/Cinderella’s Mother, Sophia Clarke as Cinderella/Granny, Aili Maeve as Little Red/Rapunzel, Chad Fontenot as Jack/The Steward, Corey Barron as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf #1/Lucinda, Ryley Wilson as Rapunzel’s Prince/Wolf #2/Florinda/Milky White, and Taylor Moessinger as Jack’s Mother/Stepmother. The production team consists of Logan Vaden as director, Chelsea Lerner as music director, Austin Colburn as choreographer, Brianna Escobedo as stage manager, Edgar Guajardo as lighting and sound designer, Nicholas White as set designer, and Kimberly Hart as costume designer.
Into the Woods will run for ten performances only from October 22-31, 2021 at MATCH (Midtown Arts and Theatre Center Houston; 3400 Main St. Houston, TX 77002). Adult tickets are $30. Student and senior tickets are $20. Tickets are available on the theatre’s website at www.thegardentheatre.org or by calling the MATCH box office at 713-521-4533.
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The Garden Theatre Reimagines INTO THE WOODS With Bold, Immersive Setting