- Don Ford
Don Reviews "Into The Woods"
The magic world of fairy tales really stimulates our wonder and imagination, where so many feature an underdog who goes through a period of trials and adversity. In the end, they persevere and live happily ever after, but the question is, what does happily ever after mean?
"Into the Woods" is the production based on the production by James Lapine with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The production we saw starred Eleasha Gamble as The Baker's wife, Anthony Chatmon II as Cinderella's Prince, Darick Pead as Milky White, Bonnie Kramer as Cinderella's Stepmother, Laurie Veldheer as Cinderella, Vanessa Reseland as The Witch, Patrick Mulryan as Jack, Evan Harrington as The Baker, understudy Alanna Saunders (in the performance we saw) as Little Red Riding Hood and Fred Rose as The Mysterious Man (with many of these cast members playing multiple roles). The story is based on a combination of four fairy tales (Cinderella, Jack and The Bean Stalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood), where The Baker and his wife are not able to have a child, and after finding out that the root of their problem lies in their neighbor who is a witch who has placed a curse on them, they set out to get her four items, that will lift the curse.
There is really only one basic set here with ropes on the back wall, chandeliers on the ceiling, and piano boards on the side wall, which never really changed outside of the movement of props very effectively to go from location to location. The lighting is very good and really enhances the production, especially on the back wall of the ropes. The acting is also good, with great chemistry between the entire cast that has no one stealing the spotlight from others, especially with some of the cast playing multiple roles. I have to give my shout out to Darick Pead who plays multiple roles, but as Milky White (the cow) was incredible, from his actions to only saying the word "Moo" really blew me away! Also, there was no orchestra, so the cast played all the musical instruments on the side of the stage, just like "Once," and this works just as well here.
There is a lot of great comedy throughout the show, and I loved how the story is not the typical journey that it could have been by intertwining the four different stories that we all know, especially with the comedy added in. I do have to warn our Empire that this production does take a bit of an “adult” turn, but I truly did enjoy this production and definitely recommend it and as sitting in the back of the mid-section on the main floor.
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