What would you want for your 45th birthday present? The Springville Playhouse has carefully chosen its birthday gift in the form of one of the most popular Broadway plays in recent years, Stephen Sondheim's "Into The Woods," and is sharing it with Utah Valley as part of its 45th birthday party.
Springville is the first amateur theater in Utah County to stage "Into The Woods" which has only recently been released from Broadway.The more people become exposed to Stephen Sondheim, the more they will realize that he is a master of lyrics and music, and the Springville Theater does him justice.
The voices may not be professionally trained, but the beauty of Sondheim is in his lyrics and message, and the intimate setting of the Springville Playhouse helps the audience better understand the play.
Though the play is a combination of fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood (plus one about a baker and his wife that Sondheim and writer James Lapine created), it is definitely a mature show.
Children will enjoy some of the scenes, but the more profound ideas about decisions and actions, and their consequences, may take a bit more thought.
The Springville Playhouse was founded in 1947 - the oldest community theater in the county, according to John Gholdston, president of the playhouse's board of directors.
"What we are doing currently is kind of unique," Gholdston said.
Some other community theaters have had to resort to paying musicians, technical people or some of the actors, he said. "But we are still completely a volunteer organization."
And, Gholdston said, this keeps the prices lower than other theaters in the valley.
Playhouse historian Margaret Knight said the Springville community theater started out using cultural halls of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has grown from there.
From its first production of "An Ideal Husband," the Springville Playhouse has expanded to include four productions a year, the fourth initiated this year, including various musicals such as the present one.
"People were asking why we didn't do more than three productions a year," Knight said. So they planned another play for each spring.
It has also been the sprouting point for a children's theater and the larger Art City Community Theater.
Gholdston said the productions are cast principally with people from the Springville/Mapleton area, but people from other areas are becoming interested and are auditioning for plays.
"We are pushing to try to keep it very community-oriented," Gholdston said.
This can keep the costs down and, as it grows, the Springville Playhouse will continue to be something the city's residents can be proud of.
The Playhouse has been known to have sellout crowds and tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis, so it might be a good idea to go a few minutes early.