Witches in the Woods: Hansel and Gretel Staged in Shrewsbury

The classic Grimm fairy tale comes to town, just in time for Halloween.

She should have known never to send those kids out into the woods alone.

Hansel and Gretel is one of the most bone-chilling of the Grimm fairy tales, and certainly caused many a sleepless night for kids everywhere. Mass Theatrica stages the classic in Shrewsbury this month.

Set to the music of Engelbert Humperdink, Hansel and Gretel follows the story of a penniless broom seller and the kids who are sent into the woods to distract themselves from being hungry.

Mom sends the kids outside, and dad is angry when he comes home. Witches live in the woods, and one of those witches likes to eat children.

In this adaptation by Mass Theatrica, director John Deschene said the company went all out to make the production a Halloween treat.

"Classic scenes have been given a spookier flavor in hopes of sending a few shivers down the viewers' spines," said Deschene. "The roles of the Sand Man and Dew Fairy, normally played as helpful characters, here are agents of the Witch who help their mistress to lure her prey. Even the famous gingerbread house has received a macabre makeover, as ghosts and goblins take the place of smiling gingerbread men."

Hansel & Gretel was met with great success in 2009, when Mass Theatrica performed it in concert format. Afer receiving several requests to stage it in full and offer it to the general public to introduce children to opera, they responded.

"We are a repertory company looking to take this show 'on the road' in schools, after-school programs and other places where it might hold appeal for audiences," said Deschene. "Offering it in a central location in Shrewsbury (our home base) is a great way to give people a chance to see what we offer. In addition, we felt that this would be a great production to offer to residents of Southgate at Shrewsbury to share with their families. Southgate at Shrewsbury has been just amazing with their time, generosity and sponsorship of this production."

The staging of Hansel & Gretel is one of the most ambitious Mass Theatrica has ever done, particularly with the inclusion of painted rolling flats and spooky forest backdrops.

"We hope that all the time and effort will be worth it as audiences marvel at being transported to a dim peasant hut," said Deschene, "a sprawling haunted wilderness and a dangerously delicious gingerbread house."

Local artists from Worcester County star in the performance, including Tara Alcorn from Groton as Gretel, Carolyn Schwartz from Framingham as Hansel, Angeliki Theoharis from Shrewsbury as the Witch, Lindsay Corad of Boston as The Sand Man and the mom played by Christine Petkus of Oxford. 

What: Hansel & Gretel
When: Friday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m.
Where: Southgate at Shrewsbury Theater, 30 Julio Drive, Shrewsbury
How much: $15


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »