By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The theater department at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School will soon be showing off its musical theater talents with an upcoming production of “Into the Woods.”
The show, written by Broadway veteran Stephen Sondheim, tells the story of a baker and his wife who are cursed to be childless by a wicked witch. The pair must complete tasks throughout their journey while encountering other well-known fairy tale characters such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood, who have challenges of their own to face throughout the story.
Gloria Goodwin, who is directing the production, says that part of the show’s appeal was Sondheim’s challenging music.
“I kind of like to take on that sort of challenge, I think it pushes us all to a higher level – students have to work a little harder and stretch their abilities and their talents so that they grow them,” she said “It also makes an opportunity because we are a community college and inviting community members who also have great talent and experience to be part of something that’s really worth doing and it’s really fulfilling to get it right.”
Goodwin said that another appeal was being used to the material, having been a part of a production of “Into the Woods” several years ago. Cast member Julie Bunnell, who portrays the Witch in the show, says that she was also part of a production when she was 14.
“After that I was just madly in love with the music,” she said. “I also love that she [the witch] goes out of her mind and completely crazy. She’s also got some great songs.”
One thing that differs in this production than with other college productions is that community members were invited to try out and be a part of the cast, which Goodwin says thrilled her.
“This is a community college so we do open up our productions to community members so we have people who are teachers, music teachers, people who have degrees in vocal performance, we have some teachers from various schools in the district, we have a few high school students who are in the show as well who we hope will be our college students in the future,” she revealed. “It’s really a wonderful collection of the community both students and non-students.”
Cast member Juan Carlos Contreras, a sophomore at the college, says that the cast and crew are a little antsy but excited at the same time.
“Everyone’s on their toes and a bit nervous,” he said. “After all, it is a huge musical and there has been a lot of rehearsal. We all know everything in the show but we also know we need a confident footing.”
Performances will be the nights of April 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Showcase Theater in the Shank Humanities building on campus. Tickets are available now and are 10 dollars for adults and eight dollars for children under 12 and senior citizens. Advance tickets are available. Both Bunnell and Contreras added some last-minute encouragement for those who want to come to the show.
“I feel like this musical is packed full of everything and that everyone will come out liking something about it,” said Contreras.
“I would hate for anyone in Liberal to miss this because it’s going to be unforgettable,” added Bunnell.