Archive Object of the Month: Stephen Sondheim letter and programme from 1997 production of Into the Woods

From October 8  to 11 1997, the RSAMD (now RCS) mounted a production of Stephen Sondheim’s iconic musical Into the Woods. The show was directed by Mike Fields, with Musical Director Robert Scott and Designer Minty Donald.

The cast included Geraldine Cummings (Cinderella), Barry J. Brown (Jack), Olafur Kjartan Sigurdarson (the Baker), Abigail Langham (the Baker’s Wife), Michelle Gallagher (Little Red Riding Hood) and Chloe Foston (the Witch).  In this, the year Sondheim turned 90, we look back at the first musical ever performed at RCS.

November’s Archive Object of the Month takes the form of the performance ephemera recording our production of Into the Woods more than twenty years ago. Accompanying the programme is a hand-signed letter from the composer himself, wishing the cast and crew good luck and also congratulating the institution on its 150th anniversary.

Into the Woods was the first production to unite the two schools of Music and Drama, and was the gala performance to mark our own special birthday.

Stephen Sondheim celebrated his 90th birthday in March this year. Another Sondheim show, Sunday in the Park with George, was brought to the stage by our students and staff last year (March 2019) to great success.

Their display ties in with a wider range of items from the Whittaker Library’s collection, drawing in resources on Musical Theatre more generally. These include vocal scores, attractive pictorial musical theatre history books and useful guides to vocal techniques and care of the voice.

Remember, the path through the woods is not always clear, but a kindly librarian or archivist can help you find your way.

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