You’re never too old for fairytales – especially when they involve lots of screaming, innuendos, and murder. An upcoming production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods is the perfect way to spend your weekend watching the magic happen.

The production of Into The Woods will take place on May 10 at 7 p.m., May 11 at 2 and 7 p.m., and May 12 at 2 p.m. at 132 North Capital Avenue in Athens, Michigan. Adult tickets are $10 and student/senior tickets are $7.

The show is being produced by Our Legacy Dance & Performing Arts Studio LLC, owned by Alexis Ballard (who will be portraying Baker’s Wife), with the hope to help the community – all proceeds will be donated to local performing arts programs and the show will drive traffic to the lesser known Quonset Hut Theater. 

“I am hoping to bring some exposure to this hidden gem! We want more communities to come out to this amazing theater to support what they have to offer throughout the year.  I plan to collaborate as much as possible to help this theater grow and continue to gain participants and patrons,” Ballard said. 

Into The Woods follows the Baker and other storybook favorites including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Rapunzel on their journey to reach their greatest desires. Director Kim Forde has taken an alternative approach to the show in order to create an iteration of the classic musical that has yet to be seen. 

“One thing about Into the Woods that is appealing to me as a director is that the story is left open to many interpretations of both the roles, and of the piece as a whole. Each actor is given the opportunity to bring their own unique style and personality to their character who is written as an outline to be painted in and textured by the direction the production is taking,” Forde said. “Each role in Into the Woods is so broadly drawn that it makes a fascinating theatre experiment to see how, under my direction, performers flesh them out and interact as an ensemble of fairy tale characters on a journey into their own psyches.”

The show is very character-driven, and strong acting skills are required to pull it off. Luckily, the cast is full of actors with a passion for their craft and great determination to get this show in front of an audience. When asked to name one reason you should see this show, Andrea Rogers, who will be playing Jack’s Mother, said, “Oh gosh, I can only pick one? I would say the talent. Seriously, I know it’s a small theater, but you won’t believe the talent on stage for this show!”

Into The Woods is a wildly popular musical. Since its debut in 1986 the show has been put on by professional and community theaters alike thousands of times. However, this particular group has been working hard to set themselves apart from the rest. 

“I look for inspiration in other media or draw from people I have known that remind me of my character and then add my own twist. For the old version of the witch I drew on Valerie (Miracle Max’s wife) from The Princess Bride,” Kate Acosta said. 

Even the costumes have a twist, with costumer and hair/makeup designer Gavin Cooley-Bodary drawing from his experience as the drag queen Betty J. Madison for inspiration. 

“The stepmother and Cinderella’s step sisters are such exaggerated characters that they essentially are drag queens so that’s a really easy entry point. Once you zoom out you can see the camp of the whole show and how easily that can pull from drag,” Cooley-Bodary said. 

It can be very difficult to balance your time well enough to incorporate nightly rehearsals and weekends spent on the stage into your routine, but the satisfaction of putting on a good show keeps actors coming back for more.

“When it comes to community theatre, it’s always difficult because the entirety of the production have “real life” jobs alongside their work at the theater. Balancing work during the day and rehearsal at night (alongside at home practicing) can be tough,” Behrendt said. “But with the help of caffeine, understanding friends and family, and instant ramen it always comes together somehow.”

The effort is not lost on the production team, who quietly work hard to make every small step of the process flow smoothly.

“Working with this cast has been nothing short of a pleasure. Having the chance to work with such talented people not only allows me to grow as a director, but also as a person,” Forde said. “Throughout this process the cast has worked tirelessly to connect parts of themselves to their characters, and I’m excited for our audience to see the finished product of the time and energy they’ve spent developing their characters.”

Community is at the forefront of the entire production – it is produced and performed by the community for the community and involves great selflessness on everyones’ part to accomplish.

“I believe the community part of community theatre can’t be emphasized enough for this production,” Behrendt said. “I’ve done many shows, and never before have I seen individuals rally together to make a show happen with no board backing them, only a few weeks to prepare, no money set aside and on top of all that donate all proceeds to other community art projects in the area.”

With countless hours spent with one another, the cast has become a family in every sense of the word. Cast members have grown very close, many characters are related to one another in the show itself, and the cast/crew list consists of trios of siblings, mothers and their children, and the music director and his son to name a few. For many, it’s the first time in a while (or ever) that family members have had the opportunity to share the stage with one another. 

Lisa Perez (Cinderella’s Stepmother) has been watching her children perform for over a decade, but now she gets to cheer them on from the wings instead. 

“After watching my kids grow up in the theatre, it’s been such a blessing to perform with two of them as adults. Performing arts has always been a love of mine, and my heart is full to share the experience with them from the stage,” Lisa said. 

Ellis (Wolf/Rapunzel’s Prince) and Christian (The Baker) Perez share the same excitement. 

“I used to do theatre with Christian all the time, but I’ve only done a show with my mom once. This is my first time being in a show with either of them as an adult and it’s such a different environment. It’s a lot of fun getting to collaborate with them in this setting,” Ellis said. 

“My mom has had a seat in the audience for every show I’ve performed. It’s been fun after a five year hiatus returning to the stage with her right up there beside me,” Christian said. “Though at first I was feeling some personal doubts about my ability to perform at the same level I once had, having my girlfriend, Jaiden, and my brother, Ellis, jumping back into the game with me has helped me find my groove again.”

The show will not fail to entertain audiences whether they’re laughing or crying, with some of the cast’s favorite quotes including:

“This small man wishes to see you,”

 “No one acts alone.” 

“Maybe it will take the two of us to have this child…” 

“The greatest prize can often lie at the end of the thorniest path.”

 “Steal a cow then!” 

“The Giant’s a woman!”

Forde’s favorite quote sums up one of the overarching themes of the show.

“One of my favorite lines from Into the Woods is from the song ‘No One is Alone’: ‘Witches can be right, giants can be good, you decide what’s right, you decide what’s good.’ It’s a poignant reminder that morality and truth aren’t always black and white, and individuals have the power to determine their own paths,” Forde said. 

There are many hopes and fears when putting on a production, especially when it’s the organization’s first time putting on a full-blown musical. Will tickets sell? Will audiences enjoy the show? There’s nothing to fear, however, because Into The Woods has been shaping up to be an amazing production with the ticket sales to match, and Ballard promises to deliver the following:

“A night full of joy and laughter. A moment in time that no one has to worry about anything but being in a magical moment. I also hope the community sees how a community of like-minded individuals can come together to create something special just by having something in common like the love for theatre,” Ballard said.

TLDR? Patrick Steven Lucas puts it simply: “It’s Into The Woods, how could you not see it?”

You can purchase tickets for Into The Woods in advance here. You can contact Our Legacy with any questions and receive their newsletter at