'Into the Woods' begins Oct. 11

The Central Park Players production of “Into the Woods” will take place at the Grand Haven Community Center, Oct. 11-13 and 18-19.

Characters from fairy tales will soon take center stage in Grand Haven.

The Central Park Players’ production of “Into the Woods” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11-12, at 2 p.m. Oct. 13, and at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18-19 at the Grand Haven Community Center, 421 Columbus Ave.

Although the first half of the show focuses on the happier side of fairy tales, the second half takes a darker turn as characters pay for the wishes they made.

The show isn’t recommended for ages 13 and younger, said director Peter Drost, who noted the suggestion isn’t for language or sexual content.

Auditions were held Aug. 19-20 and rehearsals began Aug. 26. Since then, everyone has learned their characters and made them their own, said Lauren Mixter, the show’s music director and who plays the witch.

This production will use music tracks instead of a live orchestra, which presents a learning curve for the cast, said Mixter, who recently moved back to West Michigan from Virginia, where she taught choir and drama. Mixter, 28, said the cast is “phenomenal,” and it’s been an “amazing” experience working with them.

Kristopher Arnold, 26, plays the baker, who wants to have a child with his wife but is unable to because the witch cursed him. Arnold, who has been in theater for more than 10 years, has performed in productions for Central Park Players and others in Muskegon and Whitehall. He said theater is an art form that allows him to express himself.

Arnold said there are a few lessons that can be taken away from watching the show: You can wish and you can have a wish, but it comes at a cost. Family is also another theme in the show, he said.

After taking a brief break from theater while studying German and Spanish at Valparaiso University, Michaela Kerkstra is back in West Michigan and ready to perform for audiences. Stepping into the role of Cinderella has been a dream of Kerkstra’s since she was a child.

Kerkstra, 23, said one of the best parts of the production has been working with her castmates. While everyone is serious about learning their roles and music, Kerkstra said they also have fun with it. From the beginning of learning the music and lines to seeing the show take shape, Kerkstra said “it’s a beautiful process.”

“We’ve all really poured our hearts into it,” she said.

Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens, and $15 for adults. Tickets can be purchased by calling 616-843-3906 or visiting central-park-players.ticketleap.com.

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