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Enchanting Teen Musical “INTO THE WOODS” Opens July 15

INTO THE WOODS photo by Jannatul Pramanik

June 20, 2022 – Live Arts Theater’s 2022 teen summer musical is the magical gem INTO THE WOODS, with music and lyrics by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The show is directed by Jessica Harris with music direction by Xavier Taylor and Austin Robey. INTO THE WOODS will have 12 performances, July 15 through July 31, 2022, at Live Arts Theater, 123 E. Water Street, in Charlottesville. Tickets are $20 for adults and are available through the Box Office at, by phone at 434-977-4177 x123, or online at A discounted ticket price of $15 is available for students and senior citizens. 

Live Arts will host a special opening night reception following the performance on July 15, 2022 (7:30pm curtain). Audiences are welcome to enjoy the bar and concessions one hour prior to the show and during intermission.


Sondheim’s brilliant Tony-winning score and James Lapine’s Tony-winning book follow the topsy-turvy journeys of familiar fairytale figures who seek to fulfill their deepest wishes: the baker and his wife, who are longing to have a child; Cinderella, who yearns to go to the king’s ball; and Jack, who needs his cow Milky-White to produce some milk. Within the magical forest we also encounter Little Red and a seductive wolf, Rapunzel, a couple of princes, a witch (naturally), and more!  

One of Sondheim’s most popular musicals, INTO THE WOODS boldly moves beyond the anticipated happily-ever-after endings of these storybook characters, daring to explore the aftermath of “getting what you want.”  What would you wish for? And if that wish was granted, what consequences would you be willing to accept in return?

“There is great power in this story—in taking such classic characters and bringing them to life in new and meaningful ways. The lessons we learn from this show are important now more than ever, as this musical reminds us that truly “No One Is Alone,” says Director Jessica Harris. “I am so thankful to be working with this phenomenal cast, and look forward to journeying into the woods with audiences very soon.” 

INTO THE WOODS showcases 17 multi-talented teen performers: 

Eliza Banaszak, Marya Brice, Korinne Brier, Reese Bryan, Samaria Corbett, Soren Corbett, Gabrielle James, Hope King, Mercedes Lam, Teddy Lepage, Franny Rabasa, Chloe Rogers, Nik Scott, Simon Skinner, Ezra Smith, Lyra Day Tusing, and Hannah Zimmerman.

The production also features a dynamic creative team:  

Joshua Harris (production stage manager); Geri Carlson Sauls (choreographer); Faith Carlson (scenic design); Austyn Nowell (lighting design); Jay Berget (sound engineer); Maelisa Singer (costume design); and Maggie Rogers (properties design); and Laura Rikard (intimacy choreographer).

“[A] compassionate, witty production … I listened. I am still listening. You should, too.” – The New York Times


INTO THE WOODS debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1987, where it won three major Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Book and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason). The musical has since been produced many times, with a 1988 US national tour, a 1990 West End production, a 1997 tenth anniversary concert, a 2002 Broadway revival, a 2010 London revival, and a 2012 part of New York City’s outdoor Shakespeare in the Park series. A second Broadway revival is set to begin performances on June 28, 2022, following a sold-out run with New York Center Encores! 


Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, INTO THE WOODS, Assassins, Passion, and Road Show, as well as lyrics for West Side Story, Gypsy, and Do I Hear a Waltz? and additional lyrics for Candide. Anthologies of his work include Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting It Together (1993/99), and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films Stavisky and Reds, and songs for Dick Tracy and the television production Evening Primrose. His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made a Hat (2011). In 2010, Broadway’s Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed The Stephen Sondheim Theatre in his honor. In 2019, London’s Queens Theatre was also renamed the Sondheim.

James Lapine is a playwright and director. On Broadway he worked with Stephen Sondheim on Sunday in the Park with George, INTO THE WOODS, and Passion. He also conceived and directed the musical revue Sondheim on Sondheim. With William Finn he created Falsettos (recently revived by Lincoln Center Theater), Little Miss Sunshine, and Muscle, and directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other Broadway credits include his play based on Moss Hart’s memoir Act One (also LCT), Amour, The Diary of Anne Frank, Golden Child, and Dirty Blonde. He has written the plays Table Settings, Twelve Dreams, The Moment When, Fran’s Bed and Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing. Lapine has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning on three occasions. He has also been the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s “Mr. Abbott” Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.


Director Jessica Harris is the founder and artistic director of Empowered Players, a 501(c)3 arts education nonprofit in Fluvanna, Virginia. Through EP, she directs and provides yearlong accessible arts programs for K-12 students, and her TEDx Talk titled “The Transformative Power of Theater in Rural Communities” highlights her work. She is also co-chair of the Theatre for Youth Division of the Virginia Theatre Association. Jessica holds a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Virginia, where she also earned an interdisciplinary BA in arts nonprofit management and education. Her work often examines the intersection of arts, education, and social justice, and is centered on community connection. Selected directing credits: Dancing with Myself (Four County Players), The Black Monologues, I’m Game, and Locked/Loaded (UVA). Associate and assistant directing: Beastgirl (The Kennedy Center, In Production), IN THE HEIGHTS (Live Arts), and Pride and Prejudice (Heritage Theatre Festival).

Musical director Xavier Taylor began his training and love for singing in the Maryland State Boychoir, and went on to New England Conservatory. He has taken part in several teaching and performance residencies, including work with Alvin Ailey, Boston Metro Opera, Cimarron Opera, Brooklyn Opera Company, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Nashville Opera, Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Charlottesville Opera. Known as a performer with a wide ranging repertoire and a love of new works, Xavier is in his fifth year as the choral/theater teacher at The Field School of Charlottesville. He  also serves as the resident music director/voice teacher for DMR Adventures, a performing arts academy. Xavier hosts “A Time for Singing,” a weekly radio show centered around classical vocal music on WTJU 91.1 FM, on Tuesdays at 7-9pm.

Musical Director Austin Robey maintains a busy performance schedule spanning genres and instruments. His work in the theater is informed by classical training in both piano and voice, and incorporates his experience in rock, folk, and bluegrass bands. 

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