There are some names that stand on their own when you’re talking about the theater and Stephen Sondheim is right at the top of that list. So, when the Arvada Center announced it was kicking off its 2022-2023 season with his immortal “Into the Woods,” it was thrilling news.
The production of this witty and powerful take on some classic fairy tales runs at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Sunday, Oct. 9. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
We spoke to Lynne Collins, artistic director of theatre and director of the show, about the production, what makes it unique and more.
Answers were edited for brevity and clarity.
-Tell me about selecting “Into the Woods” to open the season?
I had the luck to inherit a full season that I helped to build once I started as the artistic director of theatre. When the opportunity to direct this show was a part of this job, I leapt at it. I've always had a love for Stephen Sondheim and his work — “Into the Woods” is an amazing look at characters that we know well and seeing all of their parts — good and bad.
-What's the show about and what makes it special?
“Into the Woods” is an iconic piece of musical theatre. We get to see characters that are familiar like Cinderella, Jack with his beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood in situations that take them out of the storybook and into real life. It's a tribute to the genius storytelling of Sondheim and James Lapine that these characters we think we know take on a whole new life in relatable moments. Our production takes a new twist on the story and is set in a child's nursery. We get to see the story unfold through the imagination of a child and the story unfold as life itself twists and changes.
-Tell me about bringing a production of this scope to the Arvada Center?
It's always an exciting challenge to bring a fairy tale to life on stage. I am fortunate to be surrounded by the best artists and artisans — from scenic design and lights to props and costumes, it has been a remarkable collaboration to put magic on stage. Our production is full of stage tricks that lift the audience out of the ordinary and into the fantastical.
-Tell me about the cast and how they're bringing their characters to life?
One of the most exciting aspects of directing is casting — it's a new adventure each time and I feel so lucky that we have an incredibly talented group working on this production. When working on a piece that has so many familiar characters, the actors have to find the nuances to bring them to life. For instance, Cinderella is so much more than a girl who loses a slipper and these actors really dig into those moments that make the characters relatable.
-What are you most looking forward to about seeing the show come together?
I am looking forward to seeing the whole picture come together for an audience. “Into the Woods” is a musical that speaks to so many people and the only way to see what works is to put the show in front of an audience. Coming out of the pandemic and difficult times, this story can connect to so many different people — whether it's about having the courage to set out on a journey alone or as a reminder that no one is alone.
-What do you hope audiences who see the show come away with?
I hope that audiences leave our production and have seen a version of “Into the Woods” that they have never experienced before. Our version brings all of the classic elements of the story to life but in new and clever ways and I think audiences will cherish the overall experience. But above all, I think that audiences will see themselves in these characters — we're all hopeful, flawed, all wandering in the woods and hoping to find our way home and “Into the Woods” shows us that in a magical and musical way.
For information and tickets, visit www.arvadacenter.org.
Arrr ye ready for another Pirate Fest?
Pirate Fest, one of Northglenn’s biggest events of the year, is back to take scallywags and landlubbers alike on a wild ride, with a whole slew of events for the entire family. The annual event kicks off with Pirate Night, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, and continues with the actual festival from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, both at the Northglenn Recreation Center and EB Rains Jr. Memorial Park, 11701 Community Center Dr.
Attendees will be able to take part in a range of activities, including live music, food, costumes and the Cardboard Regatta boat race. Get the full schedule and information at https://thepiratefest.com.
Take to the sky in a B-17 Texas Raider
There’s no better way to connect with history than seeing it take flight in person right in front of you. That’s just the opportunity that Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight, 13005 Wings Way in Englewood, is offering with its B-17 Texas Raiders Showcase, which is being held from Saturday, Sept. 17 through Thursday, the 22nd.
According to provided information, the event will also feature the SB2C Helldiver and SNJ / T6. In addition to ground tours, a limited number of flights in these historic craft are available for purchase through the Commemorative Air Force.
For all the details on the showcase, visit https://wingsmuseum.org/b-17-showcase/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The War on Drugs at Red Rocks
For the last 10-plus years, Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs have been making some of the most ensorcelling indie rock you’re going to find anywhere. So, when I heard they were finally going to be playing Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, this summer, I know the group would absolutely understand the assignment.
The show is finally upon us, with the band playing at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19. The group will be joined by cult faves Alvvays. Get your tickets at www.axs.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.