note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Beverly Creasey
What a pleasure to see the Reagle Music Theatre embracing Sondheim. If you’re an INTO THE WOODS fan, this is your chance to savor Broadway star Rachel York in the Bernadette Peters role of the witch, not to mention a first class cast to bring the magnificently fractured fairy tales to life.
If you don’t know the musical (Sondheim’s second collaboration with James Lapine) this is your opportunity to discover Sondheim’s sardonic genius. He turns “happily ever after” in Act I into disaster in Act II when Cinderella’s prince yearns for more adventure and that giant atop the bean stock takes righteous umbrage. The allegories translate into moral questions about the futility of violence, man’s responsibility to his fellow man and his legacy to his children. Happily, all this heady material is couched in delicious songs and cheeky antics.
The Reagle production (playing through June 27th) boasts sparkling performances and some hilarious surprises (which brilliantly tweak the jokes already in place) from director Stacey Stephens (who also created the knockout costumes). Janie Howland’s set is fashioned entirely from pages torn from another fairy tale about children in peril, while the characters cavort unawares to Wendy Hall’s spirited choreography. Standouts are McCaela Donovan’s Cinderella, Ayal Miodovnik’s Prince, Shannon Lee Jones’s Baker’s Wife and Gregory Isaac Stone’s Jack. All in all, lovely “Moments in the Woods.”