“Into the Woods” Reimagined: From Fairy Tale Fiction to Modern Day Era

by GILLIAN PUMA, Staff Writer

“Into The Woods” is a well-known musical by James Lapine with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical was adapted to Broadway on Nov. 5, 1987. The musical follows characters from fairy tale favorites like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella as they all make wishes and experience the consequences that result in making them. The musical was also adapted to film on Dec. 24, 2015 and starred big names such as Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, James Corden and Anna Kendrick.

The Manhattan College Players have decided to perform this show for the spring musical. However they’ve added a twist to it. While the musical will have all of the same characters and musical numbers, the setting will be taking place in the 1930s during the time of the Great Depression.

“The characters of Into The Woods can be broken down to the haves and have-nots,” director Martin Marchitto said. He continued explaining how he took notice of the economic inequality that happens today and was reminded of the Federal Theatre Project.

The Federal Theatre Project was created during The Great Depression to help provide employment for many out of work theatre actors, directors and designers. Thus the idea of making the musical take place during this time period was established.

Normally, the set and costume designs for “Into The Woods” is the typical designs that one would expect out of fairy tale productions. However, this will be changed as well.

“The fashion of the 1930s shows a clear distinction between the social classes, very much in the same way that the fashion was presented in the 1600’, the period where most of these fairy tales were initially set,” Marchitto said.

He also drew inspiration from famous 1930s figures such as Shirley Temple and Jean Harlow, who have inspired some of the character and costume designs.

“I am also thrilled to have an amazing guest costume designer on this show,” Marchitto said. “Sharon Sobel is a professional costume designer with years of experience. We were lucky to get her and I am thrilled to be collaborating with her on this show.”

The set will have a significant change from what “Into The Woods” normally would look like. Stage manager Alexander Kelly described how a lot of the set design will have inspiration off of the neighborhoods seen during The Great Depression.

“Trees will play a big part in the production and will be made from materials from a typical Hooverville House,” Kelly said. “I am most excited to begin work on the set as it will allow myself, out technical director Mike Kiely, our scenic director Silvana Acierno, and countless other students a fun challenge on both the construction front and the artistic front.”

Marchitto also expressed his excitement on the set design, saying, “I am excited to see how the show develops as we look at the story through the lens of the 1930’s and the Federal Theatre Project.”

The musical is set to start April 12 and run through April 14.