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“Into the Woods” returns to the Alkek stage

“Into the Woods” cast photo

Join the cast of “Into the Woods” as they celebrate the first musical ever performed in Weatherford College’s Alkek Fine Arts Center by bringing it back for the 20th anniversary of the building’s opening April 12-15.

One of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest musicals, “Into the Woods” is a hodgepodge of familiar fairy tales including “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” The stories of these characters are intermingled in the first act, with each character venturing into the familiar fairy tale setting known as The Woods.

At the center of the story is a baker and his wife who want nothing more than to have a child of their own. All of these people learn, eventually, that their destinies are intertwined, especially in the second act when the audience finds out exactly what happens after “happily ever after.” They have much to learn about themselves, and the woods are the unknown territory in which they do so.

“Grimm’s fairytales were cautionary tales for children – they didn’t always end well,” said Director James Brownlee. “It is not without hope. It’s about the perseverance of people in the face of unforeseen hardship. But it’s incredibly funny and the songs, of course, are beautiful.

“It is a story about families, about children and their parents. It’s going to hit the parents in the audience pretty hard – in a good way!”

Brownlee, WC’s new theatre instructor, was part of the cast two decades ago as a student.

“Working on the production 20 years ago was, I think, a bit different in that we didn’t have as much time for rehearsal or building,” he said. “I was learning to sew and build and also learning the pressure of what it is to have a deadline for those things, which made it somewhat nerve-wracking. I think we’re probably far better prepared now than we were then.”

Auditions were held during the fall semester and were open to the public. Work on the extensive set also began last semester, and patrons will notice the attention to detail thanks to set designer and scenic painter Christine Endy. The costumes are likewise as impressive, thanks to Mike Endy’s design.

“But I really want to stress that it was the dedication of the students and of the Noe family (Patti Sue, Rudy and Ricky) that are going to make the college proud,” Brownlee said. “The audience will be looking at the work of the students and young people involved. They built and painted the set and sewed the costumes as well as the Endys, who put in countless hours working and building this project.”

Brownlee also praised stage manager Tamra O’Conner as his right hand as well as the coaching of music director Rob Laney.

“Stephen Sondheim’s songs are incredibly difficult, but thanks to Rob, the cast is performing them beautifully,” he said.

He is also working closely with his wife, Erin, who took on the role of assistant director and choreographer for the production.

“She is my heart,” Brownlee said. “This show is very near and dear to us because she and I played the Baker’s Wife and Cinderella’s Prince opposite one another in the production 20 years ago, and I’m so overjoyed to be working with her on it now.”

The cast includes several sibling sets including sisters Hayley and Mia Vantine who play the Baker’s Wife and wicked stepsister Florinda, sisters Adalay and Caroline Sexton who play Rapunzel and wicked stepsister Lucinda and brothers Samuel and William Franklin play Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince. Samuel also plays the Wolf.

Additional cast members include Patti Sue Noe as Little Red Riding Hood, Casie Holiman as Jack, Michael Endy as The Narrator/Mysterious Man, Alex Littrell as Cinderella, Robert Chavez as the Baker, Kristen Monroe as the Witch, Tiffany Raybon as the Wicked Stepmother, Tyler Cumbus as Cinderella’s Father, Tye Gage as the Prince’s Steward, Lana Robinson as Jack’s Mother, Elli Hayes as Granny Red, Beckii Cooper as Cinderella’s Mother, Hannah Baker as Snow White and Sarah Lee as Sleeping Beauty.

Show times for “Into the Woods” are 7:30 p.m. each night Thursday, April 12, through Saturday, April 14, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 15. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased in advance via a link found at under the “Into the Woods” event. Admission is free for WC faculty, staff and students with identification.

Select to view Calendar Event and ticket information.