Fans of TV fantasy-dramas Once Upon a Time and Grimm will see some familiar characters in Into the Woods Jr.
Like those shows, the stage musical is a mishmash of well-known Brothers Grimm tales including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.
The fractured fairytale, which features songs written by the legendary Stephen Sondheim, is also about to get the Hollywood treatment with a feature film, but locals can see it first live on stage when Vernon Secondary School presents it in its now one-year-old theatre.
“The story is about everyone wishing for what they want and the hazards of getting what you wish for,” said VSS drama teacher Laurie Anne Lorge, who is directing the show.
Unlike the full two-act musical, which premiered on Broadway in 1987, the junior adaptation cuts out most of Act II.
“It’s a mini version that runs under two hours,” said Lorge. “It’s suitable for all ages, although it is still a little dark.”
It still unites familiar characters like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, a baker and his wife, and Jack (from the beanstalk fame) in the quest to fulfill their wishes. An evil witch, of course, complicates matters as she has a secret desire of her own. The story moves through various parts of the woods as the character’s find that all wishes come at a price.
“The songs, by Sondheim, are at once catchy and moving and the story is entertaining, surprising and a little cheeky,” said Lorge, adding the student cast has been rehearsing since fall.
“We started with singing lessons and the attention to the vocals has really paid off.”
Into the Woods Jr. stages April 24, 25, 26, 30, and May 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the new VSS theatre (Theatre on the Hill). Contact the VSS office for tickets at 250-545-0701.