Opera Workshop To Travel 'Into The Woods'

The SHSU School of Music will “crossover” to take audiences “Into The Woods” during its annual Opera Workshop presentations on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1).

The “double-cast” performances, with a different cast for each evening, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on both days in the Recital Hall.
Stephen Sondheim's “Into The Woods” revolves around many well-known characters taken from the pages of the Brothers Grimm and other fairy tales.

“Though ‘Into The Woods’ is technically part of the musical theater repertoire, this particular show is considered to be of the ‘crossover’ variety,” said Dawn Padula, assistant professor of music and Opera Workshop director, “meaning, it is equally appropriate for the operatic stage as well, due to its musical and vocal difficulty.”

In the show, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of “Jack and the Beanstalk” fame), Rapunzel and other notable characters all meet in the woods as each goes there to fulfill a wish.

Act I revolves around the journey of a childless couple (the Baker and the Baker's Wife characters from the Rapunzel fairy tale) that needs a cow as white as milk (Jack's), a cape as red as blood (Little Red Riding Hood's), hair as yellow as corn (Rapunzel's), and a slipper as pure as gold (Cinderella's) in order to undo the Witch's spell that is keeping them childless.

“As you can imagine, it's great fun to watch and see how these well-known fairy tales unfold and meld into one another's stories,” Padula said.

In Act II, the mood changes to reveal that contrary to popular belief, "happily ever after" isn't always as wonderful as it may seem.

“Marital problems, angry giants, temptations, and other human conditions permeate the story, and our fairy tale characters find themselves having to deal with very real problems,” she said. “In keeping with the fairy tale theme, there is a deeply meaningful moral to the story in the end—one that will hit home with all who are watching.”

“Into The Woods” premiered on Broadway in 1987 and won Tony Awards for “Best Book,” “Best Score,” and “Best Actress in a Musical.”
“This was quite a feat considering its primary competition that year was the incredibly popular and acclaimed musical ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’” Padula said.

The music and lyrics were both composed by Stephen Sondheim, and the book was created by James Lapine.

SHSU’s production is produced and directed by Padula, and the students are accompanied by a chamber orchestra comprised of School of Music majors, as well as Opera Workshop pianists Ilonka Rus, assistant professor of music, and Yanira Soria.

The production will be conducted by David Cole, director of orchestral studies.

Tickets are $5 for SHSU students with an ID, $8 for non-SHSU students with an ID and senior citizens, and $10 for general admission. School of Music students with a concert attendance card will be admitted free.

Tickets are available at the door.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt
Oct. 24, 2008
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