Carnivale Theatrics showcases famed storybook musical

| Thursday, June 23, 2011

When Justin Fortunato and Robert Neumeyer launched Carnivale Theatrics in the summer of 2009, they had three goals: provide artistic opportunities for talented young people, create quality musical theater and raise money for charity.

They've managed to fulfill all three.

Their well-attended productions of "Sweeney Todd" in 2009 and "Ragtime" in 2010 created onstage and backstage opportunities for several hundred young artists while raising more than $30,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

"It's been one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had ... Everyone should have an opportunity to know what it's like to build something from nothing," says Fortunato, a recent graduate of the musical theater program at Point Park University. He shares production responsibilities with Neumeyer, an incoming senior studying music composition at Duquesne University.

"Bobby is my partner in crime. I couldn't do this without him," he says, adding that neither of them have formal titles for their jobs. "We're just two guys who started a company with a credit card."

On Friday, Carnivale Theatrics returns with a production of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into the Woods" at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side.

Sondheim's music and lyrics and James Lapine's libretto weave together an original story based on storybook characters -- Cinderella and Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and Jack the Giant Killer and his mother -- that everyone thinks they know.

But "Into the Woods" uses those familiar characters to tell an original story that examines and expands on themes of growing up, accepting responsibility and creating a community while warning audiences that happily ever after isn't necessarily what you expect it to be.

"We wanted a show with meaning behind it, but it still had to be kid friendly," Fortunato says. "This hit a chord with us. ... It has so many themes, yet it's one of (Sondheim's) most accessible shows."

In addition to the regular performances, Carnivale Theatrics is offering one child-friendly performance aimed at young audiences.

It will feature an abbreviated version of the production and a post-performance tea party that gives children and adults an opportunity to mingle with and get autographs from the cast.

Additional Information:

'Into the Woods'

Produced by: Carnivale Theatrics

When: Friday-July 3 at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, plus one abbreviated performance for young audiences at 11 a.m. July 2

Admission: $25, $15 for students and seniors

Where: New Hazlett Theater, North Side

Details: 412-320-4610 or

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