University Community

OHIO Lancaster Theatre presents ‘Into the Woods’

Ohio University Lancaster Theatre presents the musical production of “Into the Woods.”

The production will run Thursday, Aug. 3 – Sunday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m., with a run time of approximately two and a half hours. A special matinee will take place on Sunday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. This community theatre show is a two-act production written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine that promises to put a modern spin on classical fairy tales. 

“On a trip to NYC, I was fortunate to see the recent Broadway revival of ‘Into the Woods.’ I was moved by the stellar performances. I was inspired to select this musical for our Lancaster Festival show this year,” said A. Victor Jones, assistant professor of instruction and producing artistic director of theatre at Ohio University Lancaster. “We are excited and honored to be involved with historic Lancaster Festival again this year. Artistic Director Maestro Gary Sheldon and Executive Director Deb Connell have been so supportive of the OHIO Lancaster Theatre program over the years.” 

This “Into the Woods” production has special support provided by the Fairfield County Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, and Ohio University Lancaster Theatre Support Fund.

“The audience can expect to hear amazing voices, and a memorable theatrical experience. I have worked hard on creating a unique set design and have added many new techniques for this production. Students from OHIO Lancaster, Ohio University Athens, and community members from central OHIO lead this talented cast,” Jones added. “I am also in the show playing Cinderella's Father. It is so good to be on stage working with this exceptional cast.”

“Into the Woods” was originally directed on Broadway by James Lapine and includes music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It won the Tony award for Best Original Score (1989), Best Book of a Musical (1989) and Best Revival (2002). This production is rated PG-13. Some material may not be suitable for children under 13. 

Selected cast spotlights

Aiden Travis 
AKA Rapunzel’s Prince

What is your favorite moment in the show?
“My favorite moment in the show is probably the duet I get to sing with the other Prince.”

What is it been like to play your role? 
“Playing this role has opened a lot of comedic discovery for me. It brings together charm, arrogance, and comedy into a fun character.”

What excites you most about the show?
“I'm excited most about getting to just watch everyone in the audience experience our show and the laughs that we will all share!”

Geneviève Shaftel
AKA Cinderella

What is your favorite moment in the show?
“My favorite moment in the show is my last scene with the prince in the second act. I think it really shows how much my character has grown and changed over the course of the show. 

What is it been like to play your role?
“It has been such an honor getting to work on Cinderella, especially as a plus size actress.” 

What excites you most about the show?
“I don’t normally get opportunities like this and I honestly hope I get to continue to play roles like this in my future.”

Emily Bartholic 
AKA Jack’s Mother

What is your favorite moment in the show?
“The production numbers that the whole cast gets to sing together; I especially love the Prologue because the audience is introduced in a fun way to all the characters that will be popping up throughout the show.”

What is it been like to play your role?
“Playing Jack’s Mother has been a lot of fun for me because it’s different than any role I’ve ever played vocally and it’s my first time performing a Sondheim show.”

What excites you most about the show?
“I think I’m most excited about the technical aspects of the show. We have a lot of really cool surprises that I think the audience will love.”

Madison Lawson 
AKA Cinderella's Stepmother

What is your favorite moment in the show?
“One of my favorite moments to watch is the chemistry between our Baker (Ian Keller) and Baker's Wife (Lauren Janoschka) during ‘It Takes Two.’ They make new discoveries with every performance. As a plot point, it is so heartwarming to watch a couple realize new things about each other when they think they already know everything about their partner. It is such a genuine display of love and it melts my heart every time I hear it. Ian and Lauren are so delightful to watch in this number.”

What is it been like to play your role?
“It has been an absolute joy to be a part of this show. The entire creative team has been so encouraging of making fun choices. It is lovely to get to go to rehearsal and play with this fabulous group of folks. We all work very well together and I love that I can learn from each individual in this cast.”

What excites you most about the show?
“The Stepmother is incredibly over the top and it has been a journey to explore the in's and out's of playing a villian. It has been interesting finding ways to make her redeemable and find the humor in all she does. She is the polar opposite of me, a human, so it has been fun to make all of these discoveries. Into the Woods has been one of my favorite shows since I fell in love with Musical Theatre. Stephen Sondheim is my all-time favorite composer and getting to do Into the Woods as my first Sondheim has been a privilege. My hope is people can walk away from the theatre humming a Sondheim tune and finding both the humor and humanity in the show.”

Ian Keller
AKA The Baker

What is your favorite moment in the show?
“My favorite moment in the show is the song ‘It Takes Two’. In a show that fluctuates so wildly between an idealistic fairy tale and a realistic drama with severe consequences, it's nice to take a moment to be happy and in love with someone.”

What is it been like to play your role?
“Playing the Baker has been such a fun and unique experience. The character is one of the most complex characters I've played in a long time, with such realistic and human flaws that both make him three-dimensional and also leads to the mistakes he makes along the way.”

What excites you most about the show?
“I'm most excited for the incredible music. Sondheim's music is at its absolute peak in this show from beginning to end, with nothing being simple yet everything capturing the audience's attention. It's an incredible libretto and I can't wait to help bring it to life!”

August 2, 2023
Staff reports