Stage Door News
London: The Grand Theatre announces its 2022 High School Project
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Following two years of online programming, the Grand Theatre’s renowned youth mentorship program, the High School Project (HSP) proudly returns to the Spriet Stage for its 24th season with Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony Award-winning musical, Into the Woods. Playing September 20th to October 1st, 2022, Into the Woods welcomes notable Canadian actor (last seen in Mirvish’s hit musical Come From Away), creator, and director, Saccha Dennis as director. As choreographer, the HSP welcomes Toronto-based actor, choreographer, body-positive activist, and founder of EveryBODY on Stage, Greg Carruthers.
The Grand invites London and area high school students to apply for the 2022 HSP, Into the Woods. Applications are now being accepted online and the audition and interviewing process will begin on-site at the Grand Theatre on April 23rd. Rehearsals will commence August 8th.
What is the price we must pay to achieve our dreams and fulfill our deepest wishes? In Into the Woods, everyone’s favourite storybook characters come to life on stage in an enchanting tale about the pursuit for “happily ever after” and the dark consequences of chasing a wish. In a quest to reverse a curse placed on them by the witch next door, and fulfill their deepest wish, the baker and his wife venture into the woods to find four magical ingredients. On their journey, they encounter Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack, each on a quest to fulfill a wish of their own. Through peculiar paths and twisting trails, characters soon discover that not everything is as it seems, and that every story has more than one ending.
“After a two-year hiatus from the stage, I can think of no better musical to proudly relaunch the High School Project than Into the Woods,” affirms Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director. “Stephen Sondheim was one of Broadway’s greatest musical giants, and his passing was a devastating loss for the theatre community and our greater world. As our students re-emerge from the pandemic to take on this magical, challenging, and joyous work, I am hopeful that some of the hardness of these past two years will be lifted and confident that the memory and artistry of Stephen Sondheim will live on.”
Into the Woods premiered in San Diego, California, at the Old Globe Theatre on December 4, 1986. It ran for 50 performances. On November 5, 1987, the musical later opened on Broadway, at the Martin Beck Theatre. Following 765 shows, the production closed on September 3, 1989. Throughout the years, the musical has been performed in theatres across the globe and gained renewed popularity following its 2014 feature film, starring Meryl Streep.
Like all High School Project productions, the Grand’s 2022 production of Into the Woods will endeavour to bring a new and unique voice to this well-known story. It will feature a range of 20 - 25 students onstage and 16 - 18 students behind-the-scenes to take on roles, such as: stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, orchestra, donor relations, and entertainment marketing.
“In the theatre community, it is no secret that Stephen Sondheim’s work is both an incredible thrill, but also an incredible challenge to take on,” remarks Into the Woods director, Saccha Dennis. “Students taking part in this year’s production will be exposed to a rich, complex, and layered story that will challenge them, create a new and safe platform for their voices to be heard, and ultimately take them to new levels – both theatrically and personally. I’m particularly excited for students to once again come together, after a difficult few years, to play, to create, and to have their love and passion for theatre become reignited.”
Auditions for on-stage roles for the 2022 High School Project, Into the Woods, will be held at the Grand Theatre for the following two consecutive weekends: April 23rd - 24th and April 30th - May 1st. Students wishing to audition for singing, dancing, and acting roles are asked to prepare two contrasting songs or one song and one monologue. Students auditioning to be a part of the live orchestra are asked to prepare one song to play on their primary, personal instrument of choice. Interviews for a variety of compelling and vital backstage roles will take place May 17th and 18th, from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. The High School Project is open to any high school student from the London area who will be enrolled in High School in the fall of 2022, or participating in homeschooling, and as such ages generally range from 14-18.
Tickets for the 2022 High School Project: Into the Woods will be available on April 19th for renewing subscribers, May 19th for new subscribers, and June 30th for single ticket buyers.
THE HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT (HSP)
An acclaimed mentorship program unique in North America, the HSP began in 1998 with West Side Story. Since then, the Grand Theatre has produced 33 High School Projects.
The HSP offers an exceptional opportunity for students to receive education and training in the working environment of a professional theatre, at no cost to the participants. High school students from the London area are mentored by professional artists and coaches in all departments (performance, stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, orchestra, donor relations, and entertainment marketing), culminating in a production on the Grand's Spriet Stage. The initiative provides leadership, creative skills, and communication aptitude that serve these students on and off stage - in every area of their lives.
A true testament to the strength of the program, and the promise of London’s youth, a number of generous, London organizations have already come forward to support the 2022 High School Project. The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges Season Sponsor BMO, Title Sponsor Western Fair District, Make a Difference Youth Program Partner Libro Credit Union, and Program Sponsors Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board.
To learn more about the High School Project, please visit: grandtheatre.com.