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Access Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis is an account of my directorial process for the Spring 2023 production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods. I begin by illustrating how this show speaks to the contemporary political and social moment in the United States through a libretto and score that insists the only way to battle the giants brought on by the pursuit of individual goals is for a community to take responsibility for its errors and work together. I put Into the Woods in conversation with the cartoon series Over the Garden Wall to ground the show in an American context, discussing how our designers drew inspiration for the cartoon’s use of 19th Century American folk aesthetics and distorted images of monstrous figures to develop a unique approach to the world of the play. I then chronicle the audition and rehearsal process, including the incorporation of Michael Chekhov technique into character creation as well as the paths individual actors took to know and embody their characters. I offer an account of some of the unique problems we faced during tech week and how we, like the very characters in the story we were telling, came together to overcome the difficulties we faced. I conclude with an account of the performances and how I have taken the lessons from this process into the professional work I have undertaken since.


First Advisor

Gilbert McCauley

Second Advisor

Harley Erdman

Third Advisor

Gina Kaufmann