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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Into the Woods

A fairy tale comes to life in the Arizona Repertory Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “”Into the Woods.””

The musical is the story of a baker and his wife who are on a mission to lift the curse placed on them by a witch. The curse can only be lifted if they are able to find “”the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold.””

In this musical twist on classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales, the narrator guides the audience through the fairy tale world that brings together Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.

Arizona Repertory Theatre’s main stage productions involves many people working long hours behind the scenes such as the director, stage managers, dramaturges — historians of the production — lighting designers, costume designers, technical directors, set designers, prop masters, music directors and sound designers just to name a few.

The production process for “”Into the Woods”” started with the director’s concept presentation to other designers. The director, Robert Gretta, set this production on the eve of World War I in Edwardian England. Gretta, assistant professor in the School of Theatre, Film and Television, said he felt this would mirror the loss of innocence the characters go through from Act One to Act Two. Gretta described the musical as taking a closer look at reality and how people connect with one another.

Gretta’s concept provides a unique challenge to designers. 

Costume designer Patrick Holt said, “”You have to respect the period the director has set it in, but at the same time, it is still a fairy tale.”” The theater department constructed the majority of the costumes used in this production. The pallet for the costumes was inspired by childrens’ storybook illustrations and Alphonse Mucha Art Deco, and a mix of different textures and fabrics to create a sense of heightened reality.

According to Gretta, the musical really is about family. In Act Two of the play, he said all the rules about what defines a family are broken.

Holt described the production as “”real-life subject matter, but you wouldn’t expect it because it is Cinderella.””

“”Into the Woods”” officially opens this Wednesday in the Marroney Theatre. 

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