FINKSBURG - A few female Gerstell Academy theater students were wearing princess tiaras.

They ate lunch near a table where Cinderella's slipper was part of the decorations.

It was, literally, a fairy tale week at Gerstell Academy for middle school theater students.

Two actors from Centerstage's "Into the Woods" visited students Wednesday as part of the production's youth outreach program.

The students then took a field trip to Baltimore's Centerstage to see the actors perform the musical that intertwines the plots of several fairy tales, including "Cinderella," "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Little Red Riding Hood."

The Centerstage actor visit came during a year when fairy tales are popping up everywhere from TV to the big screen.

Two movies based on "Snow White" will be in theaters this year.

Julia Roberts is The Evil Queen in "Mirror Mirror," which is currently in theaters.

"Twilight" star Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White in "Snow White and the Huntsman" hitting theaters in June.

NBC debuted the drama "Grimm" last year. Many show episodes center around stories written by the Brothers Grimm. It has been renewed for a second season.

"Into the Woods" features several Grimm characters as well. The popularity of the Grimm characters and the stories that have spanned generations will likely allow them to always have a place in pop culture, cast members said.

"People have their own reinterpretations and their own re-imaginings of the classics," said Rosiland Cauthen, the education coordinator for Centerstage.

It's why, she said, "Into the Woods" is a go-to theater production everywhere from high school stages to Centerstage.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm wrote and modified many fairy tales still told today, including "Rapunzel," "Hansel and Gretel," "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Snow White."

Their first collection, entitled "Children's and Household Tales," was released in 1812.

"One of the interesting things is the original Grimm fairy tales and stories are generally cautionary tales read to children by parents," said Jeremy Lawrence, who plays The Mysterious Man in "Into the Woods." "[The] message being, 'don't do this or else.' "

The Centerstage trip gave the Gerstell students a chance to see some of their favorite fairy tale characters on stage. It also taught them more about theater careers.

The actors talked about the long hours associated with tech week, which is the long week of rehearsals before a show begins. They also discussed how they prepare for roles and how crucial the audience interaction is for each show during their Gerstell visit Wednesday.

Then the actors returned to the stage for "Into the Woods" performances that wrap today in a production filled with fairy tale characters that are household names.

"We all know the stories from when we are kids," Cauthen said. "So that familiarity makes us more comfortable with the story being told."

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