Careful What You Wish: Gustavus Goes “Into the Woods” Posted on October 15th, 2019 by

Poster Credit: Anne Galloway

Life is full of wishes, though not all wishes come true, and none without a cost. Gustavus Adolphus College’s latest theatrical production, Into the Woods, delves into what happens when wishes are pursued.

Opening October 31, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods weaves together classic fairy tales such as Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, and Rapunzel, setting all of the stories in the same place. The musical takes the stories back to their darker roots, as well as exploring what happens after ever after. 

“Happily ever after is more a wish than what actually happens,” Director Henry MacCarthy says. Into the Woods examines wishes and what happens when a person gets his or her wish. Sometimes when wishes come true, it isn’t always what it was imagined to be. MacCarthy hopes audiences are able to learn about themselves through the characters and examine their own desires. “Ultimately, it really is about finding [what you need] in you, rather than outside of you,” he says.

Throughout the show, each of the characters are transformed as they go into the woods and back out of the woods again. “I think it’s interesting how we see how if they want something so badly, they will go through anything they can in order to achieve their goal,” MacCarthy says. As they progress through the story, each character shares the lessons they learn with the audience. “There’s so many layers in the story that I think everyone can find something that will resonate with their own experience,” he says.

This production also has a unique set, an old, crumbling building from the Baroque era. The set makes for a flexible space, diminishing the barriers of outside and inside. “In a sense, the space is another character,” MacCarthy says.

Due to the nature of the set, only a limited number of seats will be sold. There will be some restricted view seating sold at half price. Those wishing to see the show are advised to get their tickets early, as only around 100 tickets will be sold per performance.

With 22 students in the cast and numerous more behind the scenes, Into the Woods is truly an ensemble piece. The musical director is Holly Kaderlik. Costumes are co-designed by Megan Morris ’21 and Larissa McConnell. 

Into the Woods performances are October 31 and November 1–2 at 8 p.m. and November 3 at 2 p.m. in Anderson Theatre. Tickets go on sale October 17 and are available at or by calling 507-933-7590. Parental discretion is advised; some material may be disturbing to young children.


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