Students to present Sondheim fairy tale musical

It has been said that fairy tales aren’t for children, and they exist to help adults understand what they’ve made of the world. If this is true, then what better voices to tell these stories than a group of kids on the verge of making adult lives of their own?

On Jan. 12 and 13, Markville Secondary School is presenting Into the Woods, the classic Stephen Sondheim musical take on fairy tales, at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. The company is made up of 57 students from Grades 9-12 and they’ve been working hard for the past three months to make the production a reality.

“Audiences can expect an incredible evening of talent, music, and spectacle,” says Will Stokes, music teacher and director of the show.

Into the Woods is one of Sondheim’s most challenging musical works. The story weaves all of the classic Mother Goose fairy tales together into one story with a rich and often difficult musical score. Bringing magical stories to life onstage also has its technical challenges. The students at Markville are using projections, burlap drops, theatrical fog and lighting effects to build the forest and mythical elements in the show.

“We’re also using dance and movement in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Stokes. “Our choreographer and musical director, Terrol Sinclair, has created some original and unique moments.” 

In 2014, the work was adapted into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Cordon and Emily Blunt.

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