Stage experience 2015

Jul 30 2015 | By More

Sondheim’s Into the Woods opens Friday

This week the 130 young participants in the Playhouse’s summer Stage Experience take off Into the Woods with a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s popular musical.

Twisting together a quartet of Grimms fairy tales the musical  features some of Sondheim’s most famous songs including Giants In The Sky and Children Will Listen.

The Baker and Red. Photo Stephen Clinton

The Baker and Red. Photo Stephen Clinton

James Lapine’s book explores what really happens in the years of “Happy Ever After”. Disney made it into a film, released at the end of last year, which did enough to get a trio of Oscar nominations.

Bringing the Playhouse production to the stage is the new Stage Experience team of Peter Corry as director and Matthew Reeve as musical director with last year’s assistant choreographer Louise Ferrier.

Peter Corry is no stranger to the Playhouse stage. The director and producer’s three years performing the role of Inspector Javert in Les Miserables included the record-breaking 1993 run at the Playhouse.

Now he is back with a show that he told Æ is: “a challenge, both for those taking part and for the creative team helping to put it together.”

Lapine’s book twists the four Grimms tales – Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood – around the story of a baker and his wife who are trying to break a curse placed on them by their neighbour, a witch.

“This subject matter of fairy tales and Happily Ever After are ones we are all familiar with, young and old,” says Corry. “But with this show we go beyond Happily Ever After into what can happen in real life. We believe this is a great message to work on with young people, not just for musical theatre, but also for life.

a pleasant change

“The music is difficult, but brilliant. The script is complex, but immensely funny. And it makes a pleasant change for the young people to be telling the adults the fairy tales – rather than the other way around.”

Principals and ensemble. Photo Stephen Clinton

Principals and ensemble. Photo Stephen Clinton

Finding a new interpretation of an existing work is one thing, finding a way to stage it so that all 130 cast members get to be a part of the show is quite another. Matthew Reeve has reworked the original orchestrations for the live orchestra, while Reeve and Corry have had to adapt the original with 30 named roles for the huge Stage Experience cast.

“It is so important in a project like this that all young people involved feel they have benefited,” says Corry. “Many hours have been spent finding imaginative ways to include all members of the cast as much as possible, from talking trees to whistling birds and even a set of dancing pigs!”

While the auditions for the production took place in April and the whole cast will have spent a fortnight working together on the production, London-based Reeve has been up to Edinburgh several times to work with the principal cast.

Corry has hosted several theatre Bootcamps as well as youth productions of Oklahoma!, Les Miserables and The Producers, so working with this particular group of 11 to 24 year-olds has not been a new experience.


His passionate for encouraging young people to perform comes through as he says: “working with this talented bunch of young people has been a reminder to me about the enthusiasm which theatre can inspire in all of us.

“Of course no one is foolish enough to think everyone will go on to have successful careers in the industry, but what’s remarkable about this group is how individually each has grown in confidence and performance during the rehearsal process.

“As a collective team, I believe they will put on a show worthy of the Playhouse stage.”


Into the Woods
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, EH1 3AA
Friday 31 July – Saturday 1 August 2015
Evenings: 7.30pm;Saturday matinee: 2.30pm
Tickets and information from:

You can buy the music, book, downloads, recordings and lyrics of Into the Woods through Æ’s Amazon store here:


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