Be careful what you wish for, it may come true…
Musical Theatre students of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University will soon present your favourite childhood fairy tale characters like you’ve never seen them before.
Inspired by Grimm Brother’s fairy tales, Into the Woods is an award-winning contemporary musical that takes a peek into life after the ‘happily ever after’.
The story follows Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk – as they collide with the lives of a cursed, childless baker and his wife.
Paul Sabey, Head of Musical Theatre, says this is a dark yet poignant look at fairy tales and what they mean for our modern day lives.
“The story follows this unlikely group as they all journey into the woods on a quest to make their greatest wishes come true and then ultimately face the consequences of their heart’s desires,” he explains.
Student performers shine
Musical Director and UK Sondheim expert, Stuart Pedlar, has been working alongside local Director Kate Wilson to hone the skills of the talented young cast.
“During my first week in Australia, I sat through two performances by the third-year students and was quite literally taken aback by the standard of work I saw,” Mr Pedlar says.
“I came to Brisbane with the knowledge that I would be well looked after and have a good time and at best, be lucky enough to have the possibility of working on a good production of one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest musicals,” he admits.
“But I did not expect in any way to be here doing what I love best at such a high standard and (fingers crossed) what may well turn out to be one of the work’s finest productions.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Director Kate Wilson.
“It has truly been a labour of love for us over the past few months – always demanding, often daunting, but never dull!” she says.
Twist on classic fairytales
“It is not only part fairy-tale – mostly Grimm, always Sondheim-Lapine, but also a timely morality play that packs quite a punch.”
“As a director I like to think that a production will speak for itself – and with this troupe of remarkably talented local triple-threats, Into the Woods will have audiences completely captivated.”
A couple of self-described puppet misfits have also injected their special brand of magic into the production.
Puppet-based visual theatre design company Dead Puppet Society, led by David Morton and Nicholas Paine, have created a range of puppets for the show including Milky the Cow.
The commission comes as the in-demand duo split their time between Australia and the United States, as they undertake a residence at the New Victory Theatre in New York.
Third-year Musical Theatre student, 21-year-old Lauren Jimmieson was also fortunate enough to choreograph the production, expanding her skills as an accomplished dancer.
It’s the type of opportunity often afforded to the students throughout their degree, Paul Sabey says, to ensure well-rounded performers.
“We have an incredibly talented bunch of young performers and with the huge demand for musical theatre professionals across the globe it’s vital that they leave with the skill set that will enable them to tackle any role, on any stage,” he says.
Into the Woods runs across eight shows from 22 – 30 August in the Queensland Conservatorium Theatre in South Bank.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine
By arrangement with Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd Exclusive agent for Music Theatre International (NY)