"Into the Woods" Coming to WBU Stage

September 20, 2018

Into the Woods promotional poster

PLAINVIEW – Transformed into a mythical land, Wayland Baptist University’s Black Box Theater has become the home to magical fairy tales whose characters collide in an extravaganza of sight and sound in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, based on the story written by James Lapine.

The Wayland theatre department will present the groundbreaking musical during homecoming weekend Oct. 25-29. A special 6 p.m. performance will be held Oct. 25 with 7:30 p.m. performances on Oct. 26, 27 and 29. A 2 p.m. Sunday matinee will be held on Oct. 28. Tickets can be purchased at wbu.edu/theater.

In what can nearly be described as an opera, Sondheim cleverly uses music, song and dialogue to tell a tale of tales intertwined, creating an entertaining and poignant look at what it means to be a family. Into the Woods enjoyed a long run on Broadway and has spawned two movies. According to WBU Director of Theatre Dr. Marti Runnels, however, it has not been performed in West Texas. Runnels is staging and directing the show and Dr. Brian Kuhnert, director of opera and musical theatre at Wayland, is working with the cast on the music.

“Sondheim is considered the most important person in musical theatre that is alive today,” Runnels said. “Sondheim is a genius that there really is no equal to right now. One of the things that makes him so renowned isn’t just that he writes these shows that have been so successful, but he’s also just this amazing composer.”

Into the Woods is the largest production that Runnels has ever staged in the Black Box studio theater. Most large productions are performed on the main stage in Harral Auditorium. The intimate nature of this production, however, made it an ideal piece for the smaller space.

“We wrestled back and forth and will this show work in the Black Box. But the nature of this piece really is so intimate,” Runnels said. “From a set design standpoint, it will feel like you have gone into the woods. It will feel like you are in fairy land. We knew we could not do that in Harral.”

The audience will be drawn into the play through special effects and as characters move and interact on the set.

“There will be a sense that the show is all around them,” Runnels said.

The first act deals with a baker and his wife who have been cursed by the witch and cannot have children. The witch gives them a list of tasks to complete in order for her to lift the curse. The second act changes the narrative to show how families don’t always find their happily ever after. Runnels said the production is fun, entertaining and carries a strong message about what it means to be a family.

“It is a very clever show,” Runnels said. “The audience will laugh a lot then suddenly realize there is a poignant message.”


Cast List

Narrator/Mysterious Man: Robert Cardwell

Cinderella: Ella Ashley

Jack: J.J. Rodriguez

Jack’s Mother: Franchesca Fuentes

Baker: Bailey Hair

Baker’s Wife: Madison Younger

Cinderella’s Stepmother: Teresa Moore

Florinda: Deborah Weiss

Lucinda: Sara Stevens

Cinderella’s Father: Ryan Roberts

Little Red Riding Hood: Taylor Lindley

Witch: Erin Pearce

Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince: Alexander Glass

Cinderella’s Mother/Granny: Tammy Lucero

Rapunzel: Claire Daily

Rapunzel’s Prince: Edward Funderburke

Steward: Enoch Jones

Milky White: Rio Hernandez

Giant: Cloyce Kuhnert

Snow White: TBA

Sleeping Beauty: TBA