The Ryerson Musical Theatre Company (RMTC) is staging a lively adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods for five shows this week at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. The student group –- now in its fourth year, and becoming one of the biggest on campus –– accepts members of all majors.
Second-year creative industries student Jarrett Stoll said he wanted to direct RMTC’s third and latest production after playing George in the company’s adaptation of Drowsy Chaperone last year. It required “pushing boundaries, and pushing what I could do.”
“I learned something that I never knew I could learn. I learned how to tap dance.”
Stoll said the experience made him think directorship was something he could take on. He set on a new challenge; whatever show RMTC decided to do, “it was going to be something that needed to be said at this time,” Stoll said.
“I need to start a conversation with Ryerson.”
He chose one of his favourites, Into the Woods. “(It’s) something that takes the familiar and puts it on his head.”
The 1986 musical brings together four childhood fairy tales – Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel – in a satire that challenges the tidy moral outcomes of the original works.
“It’s a really exciting kind of pivot point into the lives of ordinary people that have goals and don’t really see the repercussions of those goals,” Stoll said. “I think that’s a really big part of the show … listening to each other,” he added.
RMTC had 115 volunteers this year, according to third-year psychology major and production manager Zhanina Bregu. The show has a live orchestra, which includes some York and University of Toronto students. Since the company accepts all students, reliable funding has been available from a variety of Ryerson-affiliated campus groups, she said.
The interior design workshop lent its tools and space to build the set, which was broken down and kept in rent storage spaces across campus, such as the Victoria Building and the Rogers Communications Centre. Preparations have been underway since October, Bregu said.
“Seeing the whole thing brings a tear to my eye,” she added.
Tickets are $15 for general admission, or $12 for students. The show runs from Feb. 14 to 17 at 8 p.m.– with one additional 2 p.m. showing on Feb. 17 – at 404 Jarvis St.
All photos by Sawyer Bogdan.