Aviva Ramirez came to Brianna Turner a few months ago with an idea: a collaborative, explicitly multiracial production of the beloved Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine fairy-tale musical “Into the Woods.”
Turner, president of Harvard Black Community and Student Theater (Black C.A.S.T.), had performed in two high school productions of the show and was immediately intrigued by the proposal from Ramirez, a member of the Latinx campus group TEATRO!
“I loved the show, but I had never seen it performed with a cast of entirely people of color,” said Turner, a joint concentrator in social studies and studies of women, gender, and sexuality. “There is so much to love about ‘Into the Woods,’ and we were excited by the idea of taking a really traditional piece of theater and adding our own creative flair and cultural influences from both of our respective groups.”
The new show, directed by juniors Turner and Ramirez, opened at the Loeb Drama Center Wednesday and runs through April 9.
For their production, Ramirez and Turner looked to change up the staging, casting, and structure of the show, which follows a childless baker and his wife as they attempt to counter a family curse that prevents them from having a child. A disparate group of characters pulled from the tales of the Brothers Grimm — including Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and a witch — cross paths with the couple amid their journeys to improve their own lots.