BW Music Theater Takes Back Stage with “Into the Woods”

 After a harrowing hiatus from the world of musical theater, Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre Department are back and ready to reclaim the stage. The first musical of the year, “Into the Woods,” with a book by James Lapine and music by Stephen Sondheim, sets a precedent for the shows to follow during the 2021-2022 season.  

“Into the Woods” follows the story of classic fairytales and characters with a Brothers Grimm twist. Such characters include Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk” among others. Their storylines intertwine with one another when an evil witch places a curse upon them.  

Preparing “Into the Woods” came with some difficulties for the actors, who are returning to live theatre after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theatres across the country. 

“I have to relearn how it is to connect with other humans,” said Claire Marie Miller, a senior musical theater student who plays Cinderella the Prince Cast, one of the two casts for the show. “You have muscle memory and it comes back, but it feels hard to get back there.” 

For senior Lee Price, who plays Narrator in the Prince Cast, the challenges and rust provide an exciting opportunity.  

“It’s very different because we spent last year hiding away in our rooms, but it’s also really exciting,” Price said. 

While Sondheim’s writing is notoriously difficult to perform, what might be the most difficult aspect is the physicality imposed on the actors during the show. The characters’ laborious journeys put the actors through thick and thin to showcase the intensity of their storylines, along with the movement of sets and props.  

“We’re pushing ladders, there’s a lot of somersaults and falling and leaping and jumping, kind of like a big circus,” said Price. “But it’s so worth it.” 

The musical has earned acclaim, and several Tony Awards, for its score and comedic lyrics. The creative team looks to compliment Sondheim’s complex and demanding score with an eccentric set design and costuming to enrich the audience and transport them to a world of creativity and darkness. 

“There’s something for everyone to learn,” said Miller, “so many stories and lessons that it [can be] relevant to anyone in the audience.” 

Into the Woods debuts at the Kleist Center Mainstage Theater with the ‘Prince Cast’ performing November 10, 12, 14, 18, and 20, and the ‘Cinderella Cast’ performing November 11, 13, 17, 19, and 21.  

Tickets are $15 for students and $30 for adults and can be found on the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory’s Events page.