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MASON SCHOOL OF MUSIC & DEPARTMENT OF THEATER PRESENT STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S "INTO THE WOODS" OCT. 26-28

September 19, 2012
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STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S “INTO THE WOODS”

A COLLABORATION BETWEEN

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DEPARTMENT OF THEATER

Oct. 26, 2012 at 8 p.m.

Oct. 27, 2012 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Oct. 28, 2012 at 4 p.m.

George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall

 

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by James Lapine and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick

Musical direction by Dennis M. Layendecker

Directed by Ken Elston

 

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 19, 2012 – Featuring the beloved and familiar stories and characters of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” weaves a brilliant tapestry of poignant lessons and beautiful melodies, bringing new meaning to stories that we have passed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries. This stunning production is a collaboration between George Mason University’s School of Music and Department of Theater and launches a partnership dedicated to building musical theater studies at Mason. “Into the Woods” appears at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax on Oct. 26, 2012 at 8 p.m., Oct. 27, 2012 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Oct. 28, 2012 at 4 p.m. Musical direction is by Dennis M. Layendecker, director of the School of Music and University Heritage Chair of Music, who conducts the Mason Symphony Orchestra. The play will be directed by Ken Elston, chair of the Department of Theater.

“We are building a new musical theater program – currently envisioned as a certificate program – in which students will be able to leverage the strengths of theater, music and dance at Mason in growing their skills and careers in this all-American genre,” said Elston, who directs the cast of 22 Mason students. “‘Into the Woods’ is a fantastic play and in this 200th anniversary year of the original Grimm tales on which the piece is based, we are especially pleased to investigate the elements of magic and transformation in this work.”

This enchanting tale intertwines such stories as “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella” with an original story involving a baker and his wife in their quest to have a child. The couple has been cursed by a neighboring witch who vows to break her spell if the baker and his wife bring her a collection of special objects. All the characters find their wishes granted by the end of Act I, but Act II reveals that the characters must deal with the consequences of their previous actions, which have caused harm to others. This fun and light fairy tale quickly becomes a complex and moving allegory for personal responsibility and the most valuable moments of our lives.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, “Into the Woods” first debuted at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 1986 and premiered at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway on Nov. 5, 1987, starring Bernadette Peters as the Witch and Joanna Gleason as the Baker’s Wife. The original Broadway production earned several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book and Best Actress in a Musical.

“[‘Into the Woods’] is a big undertaking for us,” said Elston, who commented that more than 140 students auditioned for the production. “Our professional design team has been hard at work all summer to bring the woods to life, quite literally, and as the director, I would like to think that the life of the show will have a few surprises beyond the story and the score, as Sondheim rarely goes to predictable places.”

The design team for “Into the Woods” comprises Mason faculty and graduates of the theater program who now work as professionals in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The production will feature scenic design by Dana Maier, costume design by Howard Vincent Kurtz, lighting design by Liz Replogle and sound design by Kevin Dunayer. Beth Hoffman serves as dramaturg, Stephanie Seltman serves as production stage manager and sophomore theater major Nerissa Hart serves as properties mistress.

Tickets to this production are $20 general admission and $15 for students, faculty, staff, seniors and groups. Tickets can be purchased by calling 888-945-2468, by visiting cfa.gmu.edu or by visiting the Center for the Arts box office, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about Theater at Mason, please visit www.gmu.edu/depts/theater/ or call (703) 993-1120. For more information about Mason’s School of Music, please visit music.gmu.edu or call (703) 993-1380.

 

“Into the Woods” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

 

The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the main stage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit cfa.gmu.edu.

 

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.