The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss Theatre enchants with Into the Woods

Abigail Troth
The sign outside the Theatre and Dance building.

Southern Miss Theatre Enchants with Into the Woods

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Theatre program in the School of Arts and Sciences wrapped up its 2023-24 season with a spellbinding production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s beloved musical, Into the Woods on April 28. Originally scheduled to open on April 18th, the show was postponed until April 19th due to unforeseen circumstances, disappointing ticket holders but allowing the dedicated cast and crew to put the final touches on what became an enchanting theatrical experience.

Into the Woods intertwines several classic fairy tales, following a Baker and his Wife who venture into the woods to break a curse of childlessness cast by a vengeful Witch. Along the way, they encounter familiar storybook characters like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk. With humor, whimsy, and Sondheim’s iconic music and lyrics, the musical explores the consequences of getting what you wish for with sobering insight.

The Southern Miss production garnered rave reviews from audiences.

“Southern Miss Theatre is commendable,” said Madison Jolieh, an Honors student who attended. “Creative pursuits are the heart and soul of humanity. Southern Miss students like the theatre actors are not only full of creativity but also keep humanity alive. I loved the musical, wish it didn’t end this week.”

While the delay caused some scheduling conflicts for patrons, the theatre worked to accommodate audience needs.

“Some people mentioned that [the postponement] caused problems with their plans, but Southern Miss Theatre was happy to help with ticket issues,” said Jolieh.

The performance featured not just actors from the Theatre program, but also talented student musicians like Bonnie Littlejohn, a sophomore BA Piano major who played in the orchestra pit.

“Into the Woods was a great experience for me as a musician,” Littlejohn shared. “I loved getting to work with so many new people from the theater and dance school. It was a joy to get to collaborate with so many talented students.”

Ticket prices for the musical ranged from $8 and above, from students to the general public, making it an affordable cultural experience for the Hattiesburg community. The eclectic fairy tale source material and Sondheim’s sophisticated, darkly comic musical storytelling resonated across generations of audience members as it ran for almost 3 hours.

As the 2023-24 season drew to a close, Into the Woods showcased the remarkable skills of Southern Miss’s performing arts students and the commitment of the Theatre program to mount entertaining, thought-provoking productions that bring the Hattiesburg community together through the shared experience of live theatre.

With the success of Into the Woods, theatre fans at Southern Mississippi are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2024-25 season and the magical worlds Southern Miss Theatre will bring to vivid life on their stage. The spell they’ve cast over audiences this year will surely continue to enchant for seasons to come. The Southern Miss theatre is also have summer productions.

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