'Into the Woods' this weekend at Staples

The Staples Players will open a five-performance run of the musical fairy tale "Into the Woods" on Friday, March 16, in the Main Stage Theatre at Staples High School.

The play combines elements of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales -- including "Little Red Riding Hood," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Rapunzel" and "Cinderella."

On Broadway, the show won three Tony Awards, including best score for Stephen Sondheim, best book for James Lapine and best actress for Joanna Gleason.

Gleason, who was the Baker's Wife in the original 1987 Broadway cast, visited Staples during rehearsals for the Staples Players' performance and spoke with the cast, the school said in a news release. She also recorded an audio role in the production as the voice of The Giant's Wife.

"Into the Woods" is a tale of a baker and his wife who are trying to break a witch's spell in order to have a child. On their quest, they encounter several fairy tale characters who are on their own journeys. Cinderella attends the ball, Jack climbs the beanstalk and Little Red meets up with the Big Bad Wolf at her grandmothers' house.

Some of the show's popular songs include "I Know Things Now," "On the Steps of the Palace," "Agony" and "Giants in the Sky."

Staples cast members said they were inspired by Gleason's visit, including her stories about Broadway life and advice she offered.

"Joanna Gleason was one of the greatest treats I could have imagined. ... I was starstruck," senior Soifa Ribolla, who plays Cinderlla, said in the release. "She told the cast a great deal of advice about the business, and how she started out, but most importantly how she stays down to Earth."

Tyler Jent, a junior who plays Rapunzel's Prince, said he appreciated Gleason's insights.

More Information
'INTO THE WOODS' AT STAPLES WHERE: Main Stage Theatre, Staples High School, 70 North Ave. WHEN: Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 18, 2 p.m.; Friday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. TICKETS: $15, $10 students. Available at www.staplesplayers.com and at the door, 30 minutes before show. Cash or checks only at the door. INFORMATION: 203-341-1310; www.staplesplayers.com.

"(One) thing she suggested was to treat your body right," he said in the release. "Your body is your instrument and the core of your work, and you need to treat it with respect. She also was talking about passion and how you really need to love it to be involved."

The Staples production is directed by David Roth and Kerry Long.

"Into the Woods" is the first Staples Players production choreographed by Liz Milwe, who replaced longtime choreographer Joanne Kahn, who retired earlier this year. Dave Seltzer has returned as technical director with Peter Barbieri Jr. as the set designer and lighting consultant. Justin Miller is musical director, and Adele Valocich will conduct the pit orchestra. Costumes were designed by Marjorie Watt and Priscilla Stampa.

Sophomore Maddy Rozyne, who plays Little Red, predicted both youngsters and adults will enjoy the show, according to the release.

"The full-cast numbers are really fun, because you are able to see all these characters you saw in children's books come alive under the lights," she said.

Although "Into the Woods" is about fairy tale characters, the production contains some mature themes and violence, the school said.

`INTO THE WOODS' AT STAPLES

WHERE: Main Stage Theatre, Staples High School, 70 North Ave.

WHEN: Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 18, 2 p.m.; Friday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.

TICKETS: $15, $10 students. Available at www.staplesplayers.com and at the door, 30 minutes before show. Cash or checks only at the door.

INFORMATION: 203-341-1310; www.staplesplayers.com.