Pasadena Playhouse Opens 2023 Season with First-Ever Student-Led Production

Published on Jan 14, 2023

[Courtesy Pasadena Playhouse]

The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) student-led production of “Into the Woods” will open Pasadena Playhouse’s 2023 season.

The show, directed by Fran de Leon, will run for three performances at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on January 26 and 27. Two shows will be for students and one will be open to the public for free.

The student-led musical will kick off a six-month celebration honoring Stephen Sondheim, an American composer and lyricist whose most famous works include “Into the Woods,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Company,” and “Follies.”

Among all his works, Pasadena Playhouse chose “Into the Woods” because it is “funny,” “entertaining,” and “sophisticated,” Danny Feldman Artistic Director at Pasadena Playhouse said.

“When you do a community celebration and celebrate musicals in this way, I want to think about the next generation,” said Feldman when asked what inspired Pasadena Playhouse to create a production starring PUSD students. “We wanted to think about this music and this show and this work is really for everyone, not just theater lovers or those who always go to the theater.”

Feldman added he was inspired to feature PUSD students upon seeing PUSD high schools come together to form a citywide marching band during the Rose Parade.

“I love that idea. And I was inspired by that and saying, can we come together and do an all city musical where students from every high school come together and perform in a musical? And that was just the start of it.”

Pasadena Playhouse partnered with professional theater makers, student theater makers and their teachers for the production.

Over 200 PUSD students are participating. Some will be actors, others will be involved in designing the costumes and the set, while others will join the orchestra.

“We thought something that would make it really, really special is if the students themselves were in the driver’s seat.”

“All of the decisions, the creative decisions on this came from students. And so it is a production that is of the imagination, we like to say. From the imaginations of the Pasadena Unified School District. It is not outside professionals telling them what to do. It is working with them to unleash their imagination.”

Feldman believes the performance is going to be “very special” and “extraordinary.”

“We’ve just been floored by the creativity and the passion and the hard work that so many people came together for this show. And to do it in such a big way. We’re very excited,” Feldman said.

For tickets, visit:

Into the Woods

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