Director Paul Adam and musical director Stuart Britton tackle a Stephen Sondheim show and come up victorious. They lead 18 talented performers to sing and act in the difficult fairy tale show "Into The Woods". The musical score is almost impossible to sing but these people do it and do it very well. Outstanding set designed by Paul Adam and Steven Pacheco and gorgeous costumes by David Cabral added greatly to the audiences enjoyment of this show. The woods set with realistic looking trees, a stonewall pathway and tower and backlit scrim helps set up the mood of each scene. The handmade colorful costumes brought the fairytale aspect to life. The orchestra also brought the best out of the performers and make this a show to be very proud to be in.
The three fairytales are Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and theBaker and his wife. The main character who runs in and out of the tales is a witch. She is played by veteran actress Jennifer DiCristofano who is still in her twenties. She brings a lot of depth to the role changing from old hag to young beauty. The make-up and her stooped posture help Jen carry off the hag part perfectly. She shows warmth to her adopted or rather stolen daughter, Rapunzel in her songs "Stay with Me" and "Lament". The latter takes place after the giant kills Rapunzel. Jen handles her part beautifully as well as her interactions with the other characters.
Steven Pacheco as the baker and Louise Tetreault as his wife also tug at the heartstrings in their songs in this show. Both are long time members of Theater Works and their stage prescence shines through. Louise's "Moments in the Woods" after her tryst with the prince and Steve's duet with his father,"No More" bring tears to the audience's eyes. They both handle the comic aspects of the childless couple in the first half and with baby in the second very well, too. The hunting for the 4 thing needed to end the curse on them brought about much laughter.
Cinderella, Alicia Daigle a high school junior, Little Red Riding Hood, Rebecca Kubaska an eight grader and Jack, Matt Simpson a seventh grader do a remarkable job with the difficult songs and massive dialogue. These talented young people are a shining example what constructive endeavors can do to better yourself. Alicia's "No One is Alone", Rebecca's "I Know Things Now" and Matt's "Giants in the Sky" are their standout solos. I look forward to seeing more of these talented kids in future shows.
My favorite number in "Into The Woods" is "Agony", the first melodic number eight songs into it. It is sung by two human dynamos, Greg Bonin and Steve Slate. They sing the song in the first act about how they suffer because they don't have their girls yet and in the second act they are in agony because they have them as their wives. Royalty just can't make up their minds. Both Greg and Steve not only sing beautifully, they act the roles of the princes with the right amount of pomposity. Two very talented men in this ensemble shine in their roles.(Greg also plays the wolf who's snoring after eating Granny and is killed off in a very funny scene by the baker.)
Two other long time actors, Mark Anderson and Connie Altimus play the Narrator/Bakers father and Jack's mother respectively. Mark weaves the scenes of the play together as the narrator and appears inand out annoying everyone as his other character. Mark plays both roles with ease and helps the audience understand what's happening especially during the show's expositon. Connie makes Jack's mother a delight to watch on the stage whether she's yelling at Jack for being stupid or telling off the lady giant. She's a natural born comedienne and is always a joy to watch on stage. I also loved the hysteria she showed when she thought her dumb son had been crushed by the male giant. The rest of the cast handle their roles well, too. The whole cast last song "Chidren Will Listen" delivers the message of the show perfectly by stating you should care for the people closest to you because one never knows what will happen to you in a split second. Go see this show to see a group excell at a hard show to do.
Have a great run everyone!