The Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian will open its Summer Broadway Season on May 8 with “Into the Woods,” the three-time Tony Award-winning musical that inspired last winter’s hit movie of the same name.
“Into the Woods” takes several classic Brothers Grimm fairytale characters like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood and weaves them into a single story.
“It’s all of your favorite fairy tales combined together,” said Lisa Schrock of Adrian, who plays Rapunzel in the Croswell’s production. “The first act ends the way you’d think of it ending, happily ever after, but this is a more realistic version where not everything ends up that way.”
Director Eric Parker said “Into the Woods” has long been one of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musicals, but the movie that came out on Christmas 2014 has introduced it to a whole new generation of people.
The original musical is darker than the movie — the Disney adaptation toned down some of the innuendo and the “death and mayhem and destruction,” Parker said — but it’s still a fun, fast-paced story.
“Despite the darker subject matter, there’s a lot of humor and a lot of jokes, and it’s fun seeing the fairy tale characters interact with each other,” he said.
Parker said the Croswell’s cast, which is drawn from across southeast Michigan and the Toledo area, is made up of actors with strong musical backgrounds, many of whom have performed this show before.
“They’re an exceedingly talented group musically,” he said. “Many of them are friends offstage as well, so the camaraderie is there too.”
Steven Kiss of Lambertville, a Lourdes University student who plays Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” said Sondheim’s score is fun to perform.
“It’s fast-paced,” he said. “You have to always be on your toes. It’s very challenging music, but it’s so fun to sing.”
The show holds especially fond memories for Parker because he was involved in the Croswell’s last production of “Into the Woods,” which was staged in 1991. Parker played Jack in the production and Bob Soller, the Croswell’s longtime artistic director who died in 2012, played the narrator.
“It was just a joy for all of us to act with him, because he acted so seldom,” Parker said.
In addition to Schrock and Kiss, the cast includes Becca Nowak of Britton as Little Red Riding Hood; Sarah Pettee of Toledo as Cinderella; Deveny Rosebrock of Adrian as Cinderella’s stepmother; Cady Lewis of Grawn and Franny Kromminga of Muskegon as Cinderella’s stepsisters; Jarrod Alexander of Toledo as Cinderella’s prince and the Wolf; Keith Filipek of Morenci as Cinderella’s father; Mikey Del Vecchio of Toledo as the prince’s steward; Patrick Wallace of Adrian as Rapunzel’s prince; Diane DuRussel of Manchester as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother and the giant; Lora Knight of Bryan, Ohio, as Jack’s mother; Natalie Kissinger of Maumee, Ohio, as the Witch; Joe Dennehy of Toledo as the Baker; Erin Wiley of Maumee as the Baker’s Wife; Rachel Oldfield of Hudson as Snow White; Kyler Mattoon of Perry as Sleeping Beauty; and Mark DiPietro of Adrian as the narrator.
“Into the Woods” runs May 8-10 and May 15-17, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $35.
The summer season will continue in June with “Mary Poppins,” followed by two new musicals, “Big Fish” in July and “Memphis” in August.
The Croswell is at 129 E. Maumee St. in downtown Adrian. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 517-264-7469 or go to croswell.org.