CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Lori Linkletter knows the power of making a wish.
This past August she asked Alanna Jankov, while they were enjoying a break under a shade tree, whether she wanted to see more programming at The Guild.
They had just finished a successful summer run of “Madagasgar” featuring local young actors in the black box theatre.
And spirits were running high.
“I said absolutely. What do you have in mind?” recalls Jankov, the Guild’s executive director.
Taking a deep breath, Linkletter turned to her and asked, “Do you think I can get a theatre school started in two weeks?”
Jankov said yes.
After some discussion, they quickly struck up a deal where Linkletter would become the artistic director of children’s and community programming at The Guild. And 14 days later, classes for first semester began.
“So, I had a wish and Alanna made it come true,” says Linkletter, a graduate of the Sheridan College Musical Theatre program, The Glenn Gould School of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music, of the new theatre school that is in its second semester.
Theatregoers will get to see the results of this decision when The Guild Musical Theatre School production of “Into the Woods Jr.” opens at The Guild tomorrow.
The show was to open Friday but one of the cast was involved in a motor-vehicle accident and the shedule had to be restructured. The opening show will now be Saturday afternoon, March 10.
Written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, the madcap musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. It features familiar characters like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack (and the beanstalk) going on new adventures.
“I saw the original (Broadway) production with Bernadette Peters in New York City back in the day and I’ve wanted to direct it ever since,” says Linkletter, with excitement ringing in her voice.
So, when the musical became available as a children’s production she put her name on the list to get a script.
“And now I have my wish,” says Linkletter, who is “thrilled” about seeing this show come to life on The Guild stage.
“We had only a short time to put it together, so we picked the top 22 from theatre class…. Every actor is incredible.”
For Sofia Butler, who plays Cinderella, it’s also a wish come true.
“When I found out that I had the part I got excited and screamed a lot,” says the nine-year-old.
Not only will she and the other young actors sing songs like “On the Steps of the Palace” and the title song, “Into the Woods”, they will be practising the acting and dance skills they’ve acquired in the past few months.
Nathan Linkletter, Lori’s nephew, who plays Cinderella’s prince, is excited about his newly-honed comedy skills, especially in the scene where his character crosses path with Nathaniel Ing, who plays Rapunzel’s prince.
“We both have maidens, but we both have troubles actually keeping him. That’s because Nathaniel’s is locked in a giant tower (Rapunzel) and mine just won’t stop running (Cinderella),” says Nathan, 11, with a laugh.
Isabella Butler, who plays Little Red Riding Hood, is also excited that her friends and family will finally get to see what she’s been working on.
“It’s a fantastic show because we’ve all given our time to put it together,” says the 11-year-old.
Linkletter says the time has been well spent and adds her personal reasons for choosing the play.
“I like how the characters are interwoven into each other’s lives in such a clever way. You also couldn’t wish for better music. Sondheim has written a beautiful score.”
5 fun facts
4 - The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers' Rapunzel), their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.
5 - The musical debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1987, where it won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason).
SOURCE - wikipedia
If you are going
What: “Into the Woods Jr.”
When and where: March 10-18 at The Guild in Charlottetown.
Information: Tickets are available from the box office, by calling 902-620-3333 or going the website at www.theguildpei.com.