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'Into the Woods' opens Friday night at Lee County High School

The Stephen Sondheim musical is the Lee High Theatre Arts Program's town-and-gown musical

LEESBURG —The curtain goes up Friday night for a two weekend run of the Lee County High School Theatre Arts Program’s town-and-gown musical — Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical “Into the Woods.”

“We are thrilled about this show,” Theatre Director Dotty Davis said. “We have wanted to tackle a Sondheim musical for many years — his stuff is quite challenging but, oh, so rewarding. When the opportunity to stage ‘Into the Woods’ came along, we jumped at it. Audiences — young and old — are going to love it!”

“Into the Woods” is a reimaging of the classic Grimms’ fairy tale figures, including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, the wolf, Jack, and two giants. While it is based on what is considered to be children’s stories, the play is sophisticated, silly, inspiring and at times ominous. The various stories are intertwined into a grand adventure.

“The interweaving of the tales is astounding at times,” Davis said. “The show is so smart and so fun. It’s like discovering the back story that you never knew to each fairy tale that you know so well.”

A Broadway hit in the 1980s, “Into the Woods” received dozens of awards, including the Tony for Best Musical and Best Score.

Opening night is at 7 p.m. Friday, with subsequent 7 p.m. performances on Saturday and March 13-15. Matinee shows are at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and March 16. All performances are in the Clay Auditorium at Lee County High.

Davis said the cast includes a score of student and adult actors, including Eddie McCarty, Flo Reneau, Patsy Shirley, and Amanda Piercey. The student performers are Candace Shirley, Hunter Fallin, Davis Cowart, Nicolette Mantica, Chelsey Shirley, Courtney Shirley, Tyler Calhoun, Alma Garcia, Ieshia Davis, Javon Jones, Ashley Moates, Gavin Walker, Zac Crew, Turner Hitt, Reagan Reeves, and Sidney Frey. The technical and design staff comprises 15 students.

Davis is director and choreographer, with Kevin Blaise the musical director. Robby Davis is the technical director and designer.

Originally, the March performance was to have been “Young Frankenstein,” but Davis said technical and production issues necessitated the substitution. Season subscribers can exchange their current vouchers for “Into the Woods” tickets.

Tickets are available at the Lee County High main office during operational hours and the box office will be open starting one hour before curtain on performance days. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students and children.