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Into the Woods

Van Duzer Theater

The Department of Dance, Music, and Theatre at Cal Poly Humboldt presents Into the Woods the iconic hit Broadway musical with songs and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. Into the Woods is directed by Rae Robison with musical direction by Elisabeth Harrington. Into the Woods runs from March 22–31 at the John Van Duzer Theatre at Cal Poly Humboldt. Tickets are $15 General, $10 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at (From the “All Events” drop down menu select “Department of Dance, Music, and Theatre” and select your event.)

Before musicals like Shrek or Wicked there was Into the Woods, the original fairy tale satire. Debuting on Broadway in 1987 and winning three Tony awards (Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical for Joanna Gleason), Into the Woods intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The story centers around characters Little Red Riding Hood (or Ridinghood in the vocal score) played by Miah Carter, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk played by Ash Quintana, Cinderella played by Remy Fortney, Rapunzel played by Millie Bailey, and the Baker and the Baker’s Wife by Willow Aguilar and Lue Conley. No fairytale is complete with a witch, of course, and Into the Woods is no exception with the role being played by Penny DellaPelle.

Directors Rae Robison and Elizabeth Harrington met in 2006 at a “New Faculty Orientation.” Fate had them sit at the same table. Rae Robison says of that time “[We] began our many years of musical theatre collaboration starting in 2007 with Urinetown. However, Into the Woods was the first show we both said we wanted to do; we then spent the following eighteen years waiting patiently for it to happen. And it was worth it.”

Robison explains why she is so enamored with the musical, “Stephen Sondheim, who passed away last year, was and still is an American treasure. His works are varied, challenging and beautiful, but possibly none as well known and beloved as Into the Woods…the show taps into those universal stories of princes, giants, witches, and queens that we all remember from our childhood. He also delved deep into Jungian analytical psychology, where fairy tales are viewed as playing an essential role in the obtention of a wider understanding of human nature. I was also drawn to the basic tenets of fairy tales—the moral lesson, characters, magic, obstacles and ‘happy ever after’.”

The production comes alive not just with the singing and acting excellence of the cast and the hilarity of fairy tales gone askew but with the fantastical and dynamic scenic design of Robert Pickering. The audience will visually enter the stories of these characters as well as venture into the woods along with them. Costume design by Laura Rhinehart brings the individual characters alive as they journey through their quests. Assistant Stage Manager Saliarra Darkese raves about the production team, “The costumes for this production are absolutely perfect and look like they’re actually from a fairytale! The set pieces and props are incredible along with the lighting and sound effects! They are absolutely wonderful and tie the story all together!” Dominic Trezza (Rapunzel’s Prince), adds to the sentiment. “Everyone has been working so hard…and we can’t wait to put everything together to give everyone watching a memorable and enjoyable experience”

Into the Woods allows the audience to see their own stories in the characters and their journeys. Far from a happy ending, the characters will be challenged, they will deal with triumph and grief, wins and losses. Director Robison explains, “ We’re all having our histories ‘written’ on us as we go through our lives. We have ‘battle scars’ and things that mold us into the humans we are here at this moment. Take those elements that made you into the unique human you are and then add your ‘quests’. What are you working for? What are you hoping for in the future? What will make you happy? Most importantly, what happens when you get what you want? How do you continue on once you’ve achieved all your goals? I’m not certain any of us will achieve everything we want to accomplish in the time we have, I know I won’t, but the secret is to be here and enjoy our time in the woods while we’re sharing this magical moment.”

Millie Bailey (Rapunzel) sums it up neatly “People should come see Into the Woods because of the strong message this show has. You leave the theatre feeling a sense of community and togetherness, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Come join in this magical production as part of the audience. Opening night is March 22nd at 7:30pm at the John Van Duzer Theatre.

Into the Woods is presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

To learn more about this and upcoming performances, visit Cal Poly Humboldt Theatre on Facebook at or

  • $15
  • $10 Seniors/Students

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