Drake University Theatre presents spring musical ‘Into the Woods’

Drake University Theatre will present its upcoming musical Into the Woods April 1–3 at 7:30 p.m. and April 4 at 2 p.m. Performances will be streamed live, in real-time, to an in-person audience in the William S.E. Coleman Studio Theatre. Performances are limited to only Drake fine arts students. Fine arts students can reserve a ticket at drake.edu/fineartsboxoffice.

Erin Horst, assistant professor of theatre, chose to direct Into the Woods because of its songwriting and fun fantasy characters that all have an important message to tell. “I’ve always loved this show because of its incredibly intricate and brilliant musical score,” said Horst. “It’s a story about real human experiences, told by intertwining fairytale stories we all know and love. The characters learn some of life’s most difficult lessons.”

Senior Sarah Aubin plays the character of Cinderella in the musical. “My character, Cinderella, is much more than the classic Disney Princess,” said Aubin. “She is strong-willed and courageous and, despite marrying the Prince, she does not need a man to save her.”

Drake’s production of Into the Woods has a unique, dark twist. Senior Shane Scandurra who plays The Baker explains, “Our production is a little darker than most shows. Most productions of Into the Woods go for a campy, comedic feel, but ours conveys more intensity and drama.”

Another unique aspect of the show is its use of the stage and rehearsal space. Due to COVID-19, close contact and intimate staging is not possible. “Our production of Into the Woods stands out because of our intricate set and use of different cameras,” said sophomore Addie Thrower who plays The Baker’s Wife. “We are performing the show almost as if we are doing theatre in the round, which is very unique and challenging.”

Even with the new way of approaching educational theatre this year, Horst is hopeful for the future of performance art and is grateful for the opportunities she’s been given this semester.

“I believe theatre will come back stronger than ever, and when that happens, our students will be ready to go,” said Horst. “Theatre bonds us as a society. I tell the students every day we are so lucky to be working on a show right now and learning in classrooms.”