Columbus State to Stage Musical ‘Into the Woods’

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Joseph Golden describes Into the Woods as “the most ambitious show the Schwob School of Music has ever undertaken.”

Golden, a Columbus State University professor of music, is artistic director of the Steven Sondheim musical to be staged 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5 and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 7 in RiverCenter’s Bill Heard Theatre.

“The music is extremely challenging and the visual and sound aspects are extensive,” Golden said. “But we also have assembled our strongest cast across the board… It’s symbolic of our vocal students’ rising talent level.”

Conductor Constantina Tsolainou, CSU’s director of choral activities as the Paul S. and Jean R. Amos Faculty Chair, has previously taught the 20 cast members who will perform Sondheim’s 19 solo, duet and ensemble songs in the musical, which achieved a 764-performance Broadway run and three Tony Awards.

Constantina’s a superb conductor,” said Golden, “She knows these students well and will have them performing to the best of their abilities.”

Meanwhile, guest stage director Shawn Churchman, with 20-plus years of acting, directing and writing musicals in New York City and around the country, is preparing the CSU students to interpret a storyline about a childless baker and his wife who attempt to reverse a curse and start a family. Adapted from Rapunzel, the plot blends several other Brothers Grimm storylines, while exploring the characters and consequences of their pursuits and adventures.

The characters also are taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella, and the production includes references to several other well-known tales.

“Shawn has the ability to challenge students without overwhelming them,” Golden said, “He’s quickly brought everyone up to the same level.”

The CSU Philharmonic Orchestra and CSU theatre professors Kim Garcia (costume design) and Steven Graver (set design) also are supporting the production. “Steven has cleverly captured the whimsical nature of the forest as an uncharted setting for adventure and danger,” said Golden. “Audiences should find it stunning.”

Ticket prices are $10 general admission and $5 per student. Call the RiverCenter Box Office at 706-256-3612. For further information, call 706-649-7287 or go to http://music.colstate.edu.