Happily ever after. Those three words usually fall at the end of most fairy tales. But then again, the stage production of "Into the Woods" is not like most fairy tales.

And beginning this weekend, the musical is coming to the McHale Performing Arts Center for four shows only, presented by the Civic Players of Logansport.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm and written by Stephen Sondheim, "Into the Woods" focuses on the lives and desires of several iconic fairy tale characters like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and the Baker and his wife.

But while the characters in the musical may be childhood classics, the stage production of "Into the Woods" is certainly not like the Disney version, director Lorien Stair-Spicer said.

"It can be a little dark in terms of mood," she said. "I'm not going to lie and tell you that everything ends happily in this show because there are some deaths of some very valuable characters."

"Into the Woods" is the third musical that Stair-Spicer has either directed or been an assistant director on, and she said this production is exciting because it's been over 20 years since it was last performed at McHale.

And of the roughly 25 members of this year's cast, Stair-Spicer said only one was involved in that first production.

In fact, many of them are new to the Civic Players altogether, she said.

"It's wonderful watching these people come from all over just to do the show," Stair-Spicer said, mentioning how cast members came from Indianapolis, Lafayette and Kokomo. "They have really gone above and beyond the call of duty here."

And it's not just the cast members that have dedicated long hours on "Into the Woods" either, she continued.

"The ones that do the technical stuff, the sound, the lights, the rigging, these people usually have less than seven days to perfect their art before we present it to the city," she said. "So I would like for people to just appreciate everything that has to happen behind the scenes too."

One of those behind the scenes workers is John Vales, who will soon replace retiring longtime McHale facility manager Ken Fraza on June 27.

While "Into the Woods" is Fraza's last Civic Players production, it's the first for Vales, though he did help facilitate Logansport High School's spring play "Peter and the Starcatcher" in April.

Fraza has been mentoring Vales for the past few weeks, something that Vales said has been extremely helpful.

"The first couple of weeks was daunting," he said, "but Ken's been amazing. There are things that are obviously going to change when I take over to make this all work for my own brain, but it has so far been a great experience."

So what does Vales hope the audiences receive from productions like "Into the Woods?"

A greater appreciation for community theater, he said.

"These are local people out here who are on stage doing something they enjoy and because it really is a great show," he said. "They might not have the same budget as Broadway, but they have done some pretty cool things here."

Reach Kim Dunlap at kim.dunlap@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150.


WHAT: Civic Players of Logansport's production of "Into the Woods"

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. on June 15-16 and June 22-23

WHERE: McHale Performing Arts Center, 1 Berry Lane, Logansport

COST: $15

INFO: Tickets may be purchased online at seatyourself.biz/civicplayersoflogansport, or in person at the Animal Hospital of Logansport, Eclypse Tanning & Trends or the McHale box office.


Jason Knight, Stephanie Annette Reed, Xavier Gordon, Sabrina Brown Click, Layla Powell, Brenton Hathaway, Brittany Pearcy, Stacy Cox, Cassie Lantz Bault, Carrie Lantz, Michael Cavins, Amelia Bault, Jessica Wilson, Heather Carr, Shanna Daniels, Kevin Burkett, Andrea Davis, Lee Ann Arnold, Nathan Emery, Kerry Arnold, Evan Gay, Liam Gay, Christine Rogers, Kayla Gill, Brittiany Gaumer, Rebecca Pawlowski, Elijah Bault

React to this story: