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Broadway is back. So are performances at Twin Cities theater venues like The Guthrie and the Orpheum. And Thursday evening, Waconia High School student performers return to the stage live after a virtual performance pandemic year to perform “Into the Woods.”

Performance dates are Oct. 14, 15 and 16 at the Waconia Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m. each evening plus a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

“Into the Woods” is a musical by Stephen Sondheim that intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, with main characters from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others.

“We have had interest from students to do Into the Woods for a while but have been waiting for the right time,” said artistic director Amanda Byrne. “Sondheim is very complex and it requires student vocalists, actors and crew members who are able to commit to the process and dedicate the time necessary to the production. We are very fortunate to have talented, committed students every year – this show in particular.”

A cast and crew of over 50 students started rehearsing in late August just before the start of school.

“Students and staff are very excited to be back on stage for a theatrical performance without the severe limitations imposed due to COVID-19; however, I also know that it does cause a little trepidation,” Byrne said. “The fact of the matter is: We aren’t actually out of the pandemic. I for one feel a little bit like I am a character in Into the Woods who got my wish but have yet to see what the consequences will be. I am excited to share in the experience, and I mostly have to hope that everyone is responsible in making sure that we are protecting one another in the best ways possible: vaccination, masking, and staying home if symptomatic.”

Tickets for all performances are $12 – free for WHS students, and are available online at: Cashless tickets also will be available at the door.

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