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The Moonlight Amphitheatre is putting on five productions during the summer season. Photo by Steve Puterski
Arts Arts Arts & Entertainment Cities Community Community News Region Vista

Moonlight Amphitheatre honors its past with ‘Into the Woods’

For one night only on Oct. 5, the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista will be putting on a concert production of Stephen Sonheim’s “Into the Woods,” the musical that transforms the fairy-tale stories made famous by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault into a brand-new adventure.

Into the Woods has something of a special San Diego history, as it made its debut at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 before it wound up on Broadway the following year. The Moonlight Amphitheatre was the first regional theater (meaning it sets its own seasons) to get production rights to the play, playing it for the first time in 1990. The Moonlight credits the opportunity as having “catapulted the reputation of the Moonlight Amphitheatre.”

“At that time, it was pretty common to see the same musicals produced everywhere in town,” said Colleen Kollar Smith, Moonlight’s managing director. “And so, having the opportunity to produce ‘Into the Woods’ first really did set Moonlight on the track to be a place where people could go in the community to see something first.”

“I think it really did set us on that track, and give us a little catapult into being where we are now.”

Plot-wise, the play follows Baker and his wife, a childless couple who are cursed by a witch. After leaving on a quest to lift the curse, the couple encounter other fairy-tale characters from the likes of classic stories such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.

For this special production, two members of the 1990 Moonlight cast return to the stage to reprise their roles: Moonlight Founding Artistic Director Kathy Brombacher will play Jack’s Mother, and actress Bets Malone will return to the role of The Witch.

Some of Moonlight’s leadership staff will also lend their individual talents to the production; Producing Artistic Director Steven Glaudini will give voice to the proceedings as the Narrator, and Smith will portray the crucial role of the Baker’s Wife.

“It’s always good to kind of look back and honor the past,” Smith said. “I think, speaking for both Steve and I, being able to be onstage alongside (Brombacher) is a pretty special thing to show our community, both that we honor the past, and that the past supports the future.”

In addition to being a special one-night-only event, Moonlight’s concert production will serve as a benefit concert for the Moonlight Cultural Foundation, the nonprofit partner of Moonlight Productions. The Cultural Foundation supports arts education programs, such as the Moonlight Youth Theatre.

“We provide a subsidy to the program,” said Jennifer Bradford, executive director of the Moonlight Cultural Center. “This is one of the special events in the ways we help provide that support.”

The show will be directed by James Vásquez, and its full orchestra will be conducted by Elan McMahan. Ticket prices range from $10 to $45 and can be bought at moonlightstage.com or by calling (760) 724-2110. Gates will open at 6 p.m., and the show itself will start at 7:30 p.m.