Backstage Review: ‘Into the Woods’

Why did they go “Into the Woods”? It’s all Jack’s fault.

Take one part Grimm’s Fairy Tales and one part Stephen Sondheim’s music, add to that a talented cast, and you have “Into the Woods.’ Produced by the Sierra School of Performing Arts and performed at Bartley Ranch before hitting the road to Reno Little Theater, then it’s off to Carson City’s Brewery Arts Center.

~Photos and Review by Dana Nollsch~

What is “Into the Woods”?

Into the Woods

It starts with Jack selling his beloved cow (Milky White), then came the beans, and there was a witch. Did I mention the bread maker and his wife? Also, there is a little girl in a red cape with a wolf. After this, things get complicated. But that is the fun of “Into the Woods.”
So many of Grimm’s Fairy Tales mix in such a delicious way that what seems on the surface to be complicated is, in fact, very easy to follow in this tale of love, betrayal, death, and giants; well, there is just about everything in “Into the Woods.”
If you are a fan of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, you will be over the moon as you watch this play. You will also be over the moon if you enjoy great musicals. If you are a fan of both, you will be over the moon twice.
Into the Woods was first performed in 1987 with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The book this play is based on was written by James Lapine, who created a genuinely entertaining and funny play that, for me, is as iconic as the Brothers Grimm tales.

The Performances

Talk about a cast! Well, let’s talk about the cast. I wish I had the time to go into every performance as each actor deserves recognition for their talent. This is a big cast with many seasoned actors and some fresh faces. As I watched the performances, it was apparent that the actors have a deep love for the art of the musical.
This is a complex story with great songs and quite a bit of choreography. The actors brought all of this together and kept the story moving for the audience. I could tell that the cast had fun and fed off of each other’s performances.
Adding to the enjoyment was the setting; seeing this play on the outdoor stage was such a joy. The set is simple but used with great skill, helping the audience to focus on the actors and the performances.

My takeaway after watching “Into the Woods”

On paper, “Into the Woods” seems like it is a long play at 2 hours and 45 minutes, but the story and performances kept me more than just entertained that entire time. This is one of those musicals that does not rely on music blending the elements and becoming more than the sum of its parts.
The story is a bit violent, but as Grimm Fairy Tales are, the violence is not offensive. I would not hesitate to recommend this to families. “Into the Woods” is a fun time for all.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Narrator…..Kirk Gardner
Cinderella…..Darby Beckwith and Elise Van Dyne
Jack…..Quentin Powers
Jack’s Mother…..Lynette Gardner
Baker…..Chad Sweet
Baker’s Wife…..Melissa Taylor
Cinderella’s Stepmother…..Barbara Brand
Florinda …..Amy Nygren
Lucinda …..Marissa Sanseri
Cinderella’s Father …..Jon Marshall
Little Red Ridinghood……Tara Rispin
Witch/Cinderella’s Mother…..Hannah Blayney and Cindy Sabatini
Milky White……Reno Biondi
Mysterious Man…..Erich Goldstein
Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince…..Scott Hernandez
Rapunzel…..Adalynn Wells
Rapunzel’s Prince…..Patrick Mink
Granny/Giant……Marti Creveling
Steward …..Luis Galvez
Sleeping Beauty …..Maddy Regrut
Snow White …..Imani Valle
Children…..Reno Biondi, Elizabeth Espinoza, Aila, and Lily McCaskill, Imani Valle
Understudies…..Sam Crabtree (Jack), Maddy Regrut (Stepsisters)

PRODUCTION STAFF

Director…..Janet Lazarus
Vocal Directors…..Leslie Fudge, Abby Rosen Choreographer…..Joanna Wagner
Stage Manager…..Melina Frogget
Assistant Stage Managers…..Audra McCarrol, Emma Achtabowski

Production Managers…..Melina Frogget, Debra Lynn Hull, Janet Lazarus

Scenic and Lighting Design…..Chad Sweet
Costume Design…..Cathy Averett, Deborah Morrison
Music Consultant/Tracks Engineer…..Branden McKinnon
Technical Director…..Chad Sweet
Set Construction…..Larry Seymour, Chad Sweet
Props, Artisans, and Shoppers…..Michele Boyce, Vera Lowdermilk, Patrick Mink, Michelle Pfingston
Tickets and Box Office…..Victoria Blanford
Concessions and Merchandising…..Joe Linscott Lighting Technician…..Melina Hollinger
Sound Engineer…..Whitney Thomas (Starsound)
House Manager…..Victoria Blanford
Technical Assistant…..Franklin Brock
Sound Assistant…..David Perez (Starsound)
Wig design…..John Paul Rivard
Program…..Tara Burke and Joe Linscott
Photography…..Bill Quinby
Marketing…..Melina Frogget, Joe Linscott, Michelle Pfingston, Melissa Taylor
Preview Audience Coordinator…..Beth Honebein
Producer…..Sierra School of Performing Arts

How to Watch

Friday & Saturday, August 12 & 13
Thursday – Sunday, August 18 – 21
Friday and Saturday, August 26 & 27
All shows at 7:30pm
Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater,
Bartley Ranch, Reno

Tour dates

September 8-11 (matinee and evening performances) at Reno Little Theater

September 16-18 Brewery Arts Center, Carson City

For more information and tickets, go to: http://www.sierraschoolofperformingarts.org/

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