Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Seattle Journeys Into The Woods This October

5th Avenue Mounts Seattle ’s Professional Premiere

of Sondheim’s Tony Award-Winning Fractured Fairy Tale

Special Child Ticket Price for this Family-Friendly Musical

Performances: October 19 – November 10, 2007

Opening/Press Night: Thursday, October 25 8:00 p.m.

SEATTLESeattleites will step INTO THE WOODS this October as The 5th Avenue Theatre produces the region’s professional premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musical. The 5th Avenue has cast some of Seattle ’s favorite actors in Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning fractured fairy tale.

Inspired by the timeless tales of the Brothers Grimm, INTO THE WOODS tells the story of a Baker and his Wife who journey into the woods on a quest to lift a witch’s curse. On the way they cross paths with Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and a menagerie of other fairy tale characters. They each pursue individual wishes until their stories become entangled in unexpected ways – revealing what happens after “happily ever after.” Stephen Sondheim’s wickedly witty score weaves a magical spell with such enchanting gems as “Children Will Listen,” “Giants In The Sky” and “No One Is Alone.”

INTO THE WOODS is one of Sondheim’s most family-friendly works, appealing to audiences of all ages. Stephen Sondheim and librettist James Lapine have woven together classic fairy tales in a way that comments on contemporary society. The Daily News describes it as “witty enough to make old stories fresh for adults, lovely enough to enchant youngsters.” The 5th Avenue is encouraging families to attend this show with a special ticket price for children; details below.

In 1988, INTO THE WOODS swept the Tony Awards, winning 10 categories, including Best Musical. Time Magazine described it as “the best show yet from the most creative mind in the musical theater today.” Among the original Broadway cast was Bernadette Peters, who starred as the Witch; her iconic performance in this role was captured in a 1991 PBS Great Performances broadcast recording of the show. The original Broadway production ran for 764 performances, Sondheim’s second-longest running show (behind A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum). It was revived on Broadway in 2002 (starring Vanessa Williams as the Witch) for 279 more performances. Already this year, 800 productions have been mounted around the world. This fall, audiences in Seattle as well as Spain and Paraguay will set out on Sondheim’s delightful journey INTO THE WOODS.

With so many unforgettable characters, INTO THE WOODS is a great showcase for a talented ensemble cast. Featured in this new production are some of Seattle ’s favorite actors. Lisa Estridge (The Buddy Holly Story, Company, Singin’ in the Rain) stars as the Witch, Leslie Law (Sweeney Todd, The Sound of Music) as the Baker’s Wife, Bob De Dea (The Most Happy Fella) as the Baker, Allen Fitzpatrick (Sweeney Todd, B’way: The Sweet Smell of Success, Off-B’way: Jack’s Holiday) as the Narrator, Eric Ankrim (Miss Saigon, Rocky Horror Show) as Jack, Eric Brotherson as Jack’s cow Milky White, Elizabeth Arnold (The Sound Of Music) as Jack’s Mother, Billie Wildrick (Company, Wonderful Town) as Cinderella, Michael Hunsaker (Off-B’way: Listen To My Heart) as the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince, Cheryl Massey-Peters (My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music) as Cinderella’s Mother/the Giant/Granny, Carol Swarbrick (Sweeney Todd, White Christmas, B’way: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Krista Severid and Darla Cardwell as Cinderella’s Stepsisters, Allen Galli (West Side Story, Anything Goes) as Cinderella’s Father, Anne Eisendrath as Rapunzel, Logan Benedict as Rapunzel’s Prince, Stephanie Miller as Snow White, Laura Thornquist as Sleeping Beauty, and 10-year-old newcomer Ireland Woods as Little Red Riding Hood.

Director/choreographer Mark Waldrop ( 5th Avenue : Gypsy, B’Way: Bea Arthur, Just Between Friends) leads Seattle into an enchanted world. Conductor/musical director Ian Eisendrath (Company, Sweeney Todd) brings the bewitching score to life, and set designer Todd Edward Ivins keeps the cast on their toes on a revolving set. Lighting designer Tom Sturge creates a mysterious world of light and shadow. Costume coordinator Lynda Salsbury dresses the cast in gowns fit for a princess and a cape “as red as blood,” and hair/make-up designer Mary Pyanowski instantaneously transforms an ugly witch into a beautiful woman.

Families, fairy tale lovers and theater enthusiasts can bring the kids and get a behind-the-scenes look at INTO THE WOODS before it opens at SPOTLIGHT NIGHT on Monday, September 17 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at The 5th Avenue Theatre. This free event, sponsored by US Bank, will explore how the timeless stories of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and Charles Perrault have inspired other writers to adapt and modernize the fairy tales for shows such as INTO THE WOODS, Once Upon A Mattress, and Beauty and the Beast. The 5th Avenue ’s Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company will perform a selection from Northwest Bookshelf, and members of the creative team of INTO THE WOODS will discuss bringing this delightful and insightful musical comedy to the stage. Visit www.5thavenue.org/spotlight.

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