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Musical Theatre of Anthem Presents Season Opener Into the Woods  

Anthem, Ariz.  September 8, 2014 – Musical Theatre of Anthem (MTA) opens their seventh season with the Tony® Award-winning Broadway musical Into the Woods, in which a baker and his wife set off to find a cure for a witch’s curse, encountering various storybook characters along the way.  James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone's favorite storybook characters and brings them together for a timeless yet relevant piece and rare modern classic. Everyone's wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results. The talented cast, comprised of both ariZoni and NYA award winners and nominees , ages 14 – adult, presents the show October 9 -12 in Anthem.  The award-winning production staff includes Director Jim Gradillas, Vocal Director Cris Wo, and Choreographer Shawna Weitekamp.  

 “At first glance, Into the Woods appears to be another twist on the classic fairytale musical, and in some ways, it is,” said Gradillas. “You have your standard storybook characters—Cinderella, a witch, Jack, giants—all pursuing their standard storybook dreams—princes, riches, success, and happily ever after. But what sets Into the Woods apart is that Stephen Sondheim doesn’t end the story there. While the first act of the play is all about doing whatever it takes to fulfill your wish, the second half explores life after the granted wish and asks the question “Does having your wish make you truly happy?”   

Gradillas continues, “Into the Woods is a play that speaks on many levels—asking questions about what it means to be happy, the difference between being good and just being nice, how we justify our decisions, what we’re willing to do for our own happiness, and how our decisions and actions can influence the lives of others for years after. We’re warned not to be so quick to hurry into the woods ourselves, but to “stay a child while you can be a child.” And no child should be sent into the woods before they’ve been taught what is good. “Children will listen”, warns the Witch. The question, Sondheim asks, is what are they hearing? But despite the darker tones that the play explores, Sondheim leaves us with hope, reminding us that no matter what we wrestle with or what mistakes we make, “no one is alone”.   

“This huge theatre undertaking is only possible if you have an incredible cast, brilliant creative team and the amazing guiding hand of Jackie Hammond, our Artistic Director. Musical Theatre of Anthem provides these actors with a wonderful theatrical experience and I was very fortunate to be the director of one of my favorite musicals,” said Gradillas. “We feel the community will be impressed with this professional production of one of Sondheim’s best!”  

Performances take place October 9 and 10 at 7:00 p.m., Oct. 11 at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., and Oct. 12 at 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. at Musical Theatre of Anthem, 42323 N. Vision Way, Anthem, AZ  85086.  Tickets may be purchased online at  Adult tickets are $19 and Students, Seniors and Children 12 and under are $16.  

Photo (L-R): The Baker (Mason Reeves), the Baker's Wife (Taylor Ellsworth), Cinderella (Julia Davis), the Witch (Maggie Eley), and Little Red Riding Hood (Lily Castle) in MTA's production of Into the Woods, presented Oct. 9-12 in Anthem. Photo courtesy of David Powell Photography. 

About MTA

Musical Theatre of Anthem (MTA) is an award-winning, non-profit theater company located in Anthem, Arizona.  The mission of MTA is to develop youth and adults within the field of performing arts while enhancing their intrinsic creativity and brokering their vast talents.  MTA trains and educates youth so that they can become the artists, patrons, and leaders of tomorrow while providing opportunities to adults that empower them and foster their creativity.  MTA’s principles include casting all who audition in select productions, presenting high quality shows that everyone can enjoy, and providing a positive environment where performers can practice teamwork and communication skills while experiencing the pride of accomplishment.



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