The Cody Community Theatre will premiere its most ambitious production ever on Thursday.

After six months of work, “Into the Woods” opens 7 p.m. at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium. A cast of 20 local thespians and the largest orchestra ever to accompany a CCT production will be making it happen.

The show will have a four-night run, capped by a 2 p.m. Sunday show. Tickets cost $15-$25, depending on section.

“Into the Woods,” written by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, premiered on Broadway in 1987. It weaves together snippets of numerous fairy tales, with the story of a baker and his wife seeking to break a curse running through them all. 

The play presented unique challenges for the CCT crew. The idea to undertake the project came from theatre veteran Andrew Rossi. He will make his directorial debut with the production.

“The show was my choice,” he said. “It’s a notoriously challenging show, but I looked around at this group and decided they can do this.”

The process of getting the show ready was not an easy one. The play was first announced in December, and casting was in January. Theatre participants have been rehearsing two or three nights a week since then.

One of the actresses, Taylor Reeder, has been involved in CCT productions for more than 10 year, and is taking on the role of Cinderella. Back in January, she went into casting with no particular role in mind, but has come to really enjoy her character.

“When most people think of Cinderella, they think of the Disney version,” she said. “I get the opportunity to show the depth that Cinderella has.”

The actors and actresses who will take the stage Thursday might not necessarily have been cast in the roles they fill.

“Some of these guys have only been in their roles for a couple weeks,” Rossi said. “We’ve had people move on and others have stepped up.”

In addition to the stage performance, the music has been a huge part of the preparation. In the lead on that part of the production has been Drew Murray, the show’s music director. This is her second production with CCT. She also plays the role of the baker’s wife.

“Andrew asked me to be the music director, and I said I would only do it if I could be in the play as well,” she said. “This is a dream show for me.”

Murray has had her work cut out for her in both roles. The first month and a half was spent on the show’s music alone. The orchestra is comprised of 14 local musicians. Last week was the first opportunity to mesh the stage performance with the live music.

“It’s upper-level stuff,” Murray said.

She has also enjoyed getting into her role as the baker’s wife.

“She’s a less recognizable character, so you’re a little more free to make the role your own,” she said.

The end of high school made it possible for the players to get into the auditorium to practice, as well as freeing up CCT’s primary pianist, who had high school commitments. 

The sprint for the finish is now on, and Rossi is looking forward to opening night.

“My only goal from the outset was to have everyone involved grow as a performer,” he said. “I know we’ve accomplished that.”

Tickets for Into the Woods may be purchased online at showtix4u.com/events/14152.

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