When the City Springs Theatre production of “Into the Woods” opens on July 9 in Sandy Springs, it will be like a homecoming for actor Billy Tighe.

The Tony Award-winning musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim runs through July 18 at Byers Theatre at the Performing Arts Center.

Marietta native Billy Tighe portrays the baker in the City Springs Theatre Company’s production of “Into the Woods.” (City Springs Theatre)

“Live theater has had a very long period of darkness. And there hasn’t been the opportunity to even engage in something like this,” said Tighe, a Marietta native.

“Into the Woods” marks the return of live theater in Sandy Springs since the pandemic. 

Tighe will portray the lead character in the tale of a baker and his wife who make a bargain with a witch in a quest to have a child. Along their journey into the woods, they come in contact with fairytale characters including Cinderella, Jack, Rapunzel, a wolf and other characters.

He said “Into the Woods” is a classic musical that is stunning and hilarious. The musical also is extremely engaging with its audience, he said.

Many musicals are experienced passively with the audience sitting to be awed by pretty colors, lights and dance as an escape. What he likes about “Into the Woods” is that it has those elements, but also invites the audience to participate in the story. Incredible performers make up the cast, he said, including Broadway actors and Atlanta-based talent.

Tighe’s past experience

Prior to this production, Tighe and his wife, Kristine Reese, served as directors of the company’s production of “Mama Mia” performed at the Amerisbank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta.

He’s spent the time working with City Springs Theatre’s conservatory program with his wife, offering instruction, coaching and directing choreography.

Tighe got his start acting at the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts on the campus of Pebblebrook High. In middle school, he attended an honors course where the director of that program opened his eyes to the possibility of theater. He’d never seen a musical or been part of any show before.

“I went to that school kind of on a whim … it was the first time that any sort of educator has shown any interest in my skills and said, ‘This could be something that you could be really good at. Maybe you should give it a look,’” Tighe said.

With that, he found his purpose and never looked back.

“I’m blessed to say that … since the age of 13 or 14, I’ve only worked as an actor in my life. I’ve never really had another job ever,” he said.

Noteworthy performances by Tighe include “Pippin” on Broadway and “The Book of Mormon” at the West End in London.

Bringing back theater

Tighe said he’s excited about the return of live theater.

“I think about the people that need a form of escape after the last year or people that might find their calling in seeing a musical,” Tighe said. “And I just wish that people would choose to support their community and come out and have a great time. Or, we can laugh and sort of have some stress released from everything that’s going on in the world, while also supporting what is an amazing business being created in the Sandy Springs community.”

The actor said the Performing Arts Center at City Springs is providing a space for creative people to bring back the arts in a relatively new theater that has the opportunity to become one of Atlanta’s leading theaters.

“It’s not only coming back, but City Springs is coming back in a big way,” Tighe said.

Tickets for “Into the Woods” are $40 to $100, with discounts for seniors, students, groups and active and retired military personnel. Call 404-477-4365 or visit www.CitySpringsTheate.com for information.

All patrons will have temperature checks, and masks will be required for everyone regardless of age.

(City Springs Theatre Company)

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.