Riverfront Theater Company eager to return to in-person productions with ‘Into the Woods Jr.’

Tawnya Panizzi | Wednesday, July 21, 2021 11:35 a.m. Details

Riverfront Theater Company has teamed up with Emmerling Ice Cream in Indiana Township for a pre-show fundraiser. Customers who visit the Route 910 ice cream spot on July 28, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., can mention Riverfront Theater Company to have 30% of their order proceeds donated to RTC.
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Hampton junior Lauren Michael joked that she does some of her best singing in the car.

She has no jitters belting out tunes along with the radio.

This summer, the 15-year-old pushed past her comfort zone to audition for a part in Riverfront Theater Company’s live production of “Into the Woods Jr.,” on stage Aug. 4-7 at Aspinwall Riverfront Park (ARP).

“This is my first experiment in theater and I’ve loved it thus far,” she said. “I’ve been able to make a lot of new friends and gain confidence in my abilities, as well as learn how to improve.

“Singing has always been one of my biggest passions and to be able to do something with that has been amazing,”

Michael joins a cast of 18 youngsters from across the Pittsburgh region who will entertain a live audience at the park for the first time since the covid-19 pandemic thwarted large gatherings.

“Everyone has been super excited to put on a live show,” Jim Froehlich, president of the theater company, said.

Before the pandemic shut down productions, Riverfront Theater had put on four shows a year that highlighted local talent. The group collaborates with ARP to produce special community-themed programs such as Swing Dance lessons and other music-themed events. They also host a Summer Theater Camp to mentor aspiring actors with behind-the-scenes experience.

“While the virtual shows scratched the artistic itch to some extent, there is nothing that compares to the rush from performing in front of a live audience,” Froehlich said.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at riverfronttheaterco.org/tickets.

In true theater-in-the-park fashion, performances will take place at ARP’s outdoor pavilion.

Audiences can expect twists and turns and different retellings of classic fairy tales, Director Jenna Bowman said.

“Into the Woods Jr.” is the story of a baker and his wife who long for a child. Their journey features twisted versions of familiar childhood favorites such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.

“From our stellar production team to our performers to our board of directors, we have pulled out all the stops,” Froehlich said. “This is the largest show we’ve ever done with the largest audiences and the most production value. We can’t wait to show the community what we can do.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, tpanizzi@triblive.com or via Twitter .