Before “Shrek” There was "Into the Woods"

A photo of student Ash Quintana as Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk with Milky the cow from "Into the Woods"
Student Ash Quintana is playing Jack in "Into the Woods" at Van Duzer Theatre from March 22.
Cal Poly Humboldt Theatre Arts presents "Into the Woods," the iconic hit Broadway musical with songs and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine.

"Into the Woods” is directed by Rae Robison, with musical direction by Elisabeth Harrington. The show runs from March 22–31 at the John Van Duzer Theatre. 

Before musicals like “Shrek” or “Wicked,” there was "Into the Woods," the original fairy tale satire. Debuting on Broadway in 1987 and winning three Tony awards, "Into the Woods” intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The story centers around characters Little Red Riding Hood, played by student Miah Carter; Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, played by student Ash Quintana; Cinderella, played by student Remy Fortney; Rapunzel, played by student Millie Bailey; and the Baker and the Baker’s Wife, played by students Willow Aguilar and Lue Conley. No fairytale is complete without a witch, of course, and the role is played by student Penny DellaPelle.

Directors Robison and Harrington met in 2006 at a “New Faculty Orientation.” Robison says, “[We] began our many years of musical theater collaboration. However, ‘Into the Woods’ was the first show we both said we wanted to do; we then spent the following 18 years waiting patiently for it to happen. And it was worth it.

“Into the Woods” taps into those universal stories of princes, giants, witches, and queens that we all remember from childhood. Sondheim also delved deep into Jungian analytical psychology, where fairy tales are viewed as playing an essential role in the wider understanding of human nature. I was also drawn to the basic tenets of fairy tales—the moral lesson, characters, magic, obstacles, and ‘happy ever after,’” Robison says.

The production comes alive not just with the singing and acting excellence of the cast and the hilarity of fairy tales gone askew, but with the fantastical and dynamic scenic design of Robert Pickering. The audience will visually enter the stories of these characters and venture "Into the Woods" along with them. The costume design by Laura Rhinehart brings the individual characters alive as they journey through their quests. 

Come see this magical production opening night, Friday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the John Van Duzer Theatre. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. on March 22-23 and March 29-30 and 2 p.m. on March 24 and 31.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at 

"Into the Woods" is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 

To learn more about this and upcoming performances, visit Cal Poly Humboldt Theatre on Facebook at or

For more information, contact Cal Poly Humboldt Theatre Arts at 707-826-3566