Upton Players to stage ‘Into the Woods’ July 17-20Written by Chase Will | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Before the Hollywood adaptation opens this winter, treat yourself to The Upton Players’ performance of “Into the Woods” July 17-20.
According to director Sara Spealman, the challenge of fitting such a large-scale production into a 165-seat theater has enhanced the connection between the characters and the audience.
“It’s a big show in a small theater,” Spealman said. “Obviously we’re not Broadway, so most of the tech aspects we cannot do. But in the space that we have at The Village Theater it’s a much more intimate experience.”
“The nice thing about seeing a show at The Village is that even though you’re in the audience you feel like you’re plugged into the story,” said producer Chris Jagodzinski.
The Upton Players are a young adult theater troupe supported by The Village Players. This is the group’s second show. According the Jagodsinski, the 21-person cast will be accompanied by a full orchestra and an intricate set. The musical includes several storybook characters from the Brothers Grimm, including Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and the Big Bad Wolf. Their stories are intertwined as a baker and his wife try to reverse a witch’s curse so they can start a family. Although the story contains mature themes, Spealman said it’s appropriate for all ages and there’s no bad language.
“There may be some content that will go over younger heads, but it’s nothing that I’d feel uncomfortable letting a 2-year-old watch,” Spealman said.
Spealman joined The Village last year when she directed “Anything Goes.” Previously she’s directed seven shows for Maumee High School and The Toledo Repertoire Theatre.
“I wanted to do a young adult program at The Village,” Spealman said. “A lot of programs at the area stop at age 18-19, but our program goes up to 22. It’s for young adults who don’t have a lot to do theater-wise in the area.” This new program has drawn youth from all across Northwest Ohio, including Bowling Green and the University of Findlay.
“The majority of our actors are local, but if someone’s interested in participating in our show they’re always welcome, and that’s for all age groups,” Jagodzinski said.
Spealman decided on “Into the Woods” while directing “Anything Goes” and finding many of her actors had discovered the upcoming film adaptation of “Into the Woods” and were interested in the source material. Spealman also said many of her actors had their lines memorized prior to the cutoff date, a testament to their dedication.
“This is probably the most talented group of young adults I’ve worked with,” Spealman said. “Act I is very different from Act II, and I can’t make it through Act II without crying at least twice. No one’s going to leave disappointed.”
Show times for Into the Woods are 7:30 p.m. July 17-19 and 2:30 p.m. July 20. Tickets are available at www.thevillageplayers.org. Since the majority of actors in the show are age 16-22, ticket prices have been reduced to $12 to accommodate peers who wish to attend, Spealman said. Tickets are expected to sell quickly. The Village Players website has been redesigned to include more photos, graphics and user-friendly links to audition dates and box office information.
Tags: Big Bad Wolf, Brothers Grimm, Chris Jagodzinski, Cinderella, Into the Woods, Maumee High School, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Sara Spealman, The Toledo Repertoire Theatre, The Upton Players, The Village Players, University of Findlay