Persistence paid off for Torrie Sanders, Thomas Nelson’s manager and resident designer for the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium. For years, she’s been asking Michael Sundblad, an assistant professor of music, if they could perform “Into the Woods.”
His usual response was, “We’re not ready.”
Not this year. This time, he said they could do the play, which features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
“Now, I’m kind of regretting it because it’s really hard,” Sanders, also an adjunct assistant professor at the College, said with a laugh.
Show times for “Into the Woods” are Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m., and 3 p.m. Nov. 11 and Nov. 18. Tickets range from $10 to $17.
The musical combines the plots of multiple fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella.”
Sanders said Sondheim’s music for this play is complicated.
“He does a lot of really interesting things with rhythm, with thematic lines for different characters that it makes it very difficult for the musicians, for the singers to learn the music,” she said.
She said it has been quite the journey for her and the cast “because it’s more difficult than what we usually do … It’s been very much a learning experience for them.”
The first half of the play, said Sanders, is all of the fairy tales. The story follows a Baker and his wife, who long to have a child; Cinderella, who desperately wants to attend the King's Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk.
“The second half is what happens when happily ever after isn’t quite as happily ever after,” she said. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch's curse, the couple embarks on a journey to break the curse. Catastrophic results occur when everyone's wish is granted and the consequences of their actions return to haunt them.
“Into the Woods” is the first of three shows the College will perform in its 2018-19 season. “Romeo and Juliet” is set for April 5-14, and “The Sorcerer” will run July 12-21.