GVSU Opera Theatre to present 'Into the Woods'

Sara Tryon as Sleeping Beauty and Kala Bambard as Snow White, rehearse a scene for the GVSU production of
Sara Tryon as Sleeping Beauty and Kala Bambard as Snow White, rehearse a scene for the GVSU production of
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ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Familiar fairy tale characters take on unfamiliar roles in the upcoming production of "Into the Woods," by the Grand Valley State University Opera Theatre.

Six performances are planned at the Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus, on February 5, 6, 12, and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and February 7 and 14, at 2 p.m.

"This is a fantastic piece of theatre and music with iconic characters everyone knows, like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Prince Charming," said Associate Professor Dale Schriemer, artistic director and producer. "Yet, in this production, their roles are quite the opposite of what we have come to expect."

The music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim intertwines with the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales to explore the consequences of the characters' hopes and dreams. Lively and irreverent scenes become, in the end, a moving lesson about community responsibility.

The Grand Valley shows, which are the 12th production of the annual Opera Theatre, have a large cast of more than 20 characters. Live music by the GVSU Orchestra will be directed by co-producer Kevin Tutt, associate professor of music.

Ben Cole, visiting professor of acting, serves as narrator throughout the production. The role of Red Riding Hood is double cast, with freshman Rachel Niewiada, and senior Kaylin Heydenburg. "Class standing is not a guarantee to be picked for the plum roles," said Schriemer. "Each cast member must audition for the guest director and earn their role."

Guest Director Karen Babcock returns from New York for her fourth year of guidance. She brings her extensive acting experience and skills as a director, choreographer and teacher, and serves as a mentor and advocate for students who transition from school productions to the professional stage. Also returning to Grand Valley is Emmy award-winning scenic designer Jeffery Murphy, from Minnesota, whose creations have been seen in the Cannes Film Festival, and from Tokyo to Hollywood.

The performance runs about two-and-a-half hours, with one intermission. Tickets, priced $6-14, may be purchased at the Louis Armstrong Theatre Box Office, weekdays during the academic year, from 12-5 p.m. (in-person sales only/no phone orders please). Tickets are also available with a service fee by calling Star Tickets Plus at (616) 222-4000 or (800) 585-3737, at any Star Tickets Plus outlet, or online www.starticketplus.com.

For more information, please call (616) 331-3484 or visit www.gvsu.edu/music.