Thursday, December 18, 2014

NEW SECTION! Sharing is Caring - Theatre: "Into the Woods" from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Last night, my wife and I went to see my absolute favorite musical in production these days, "Into the Woods" from Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, originally premiered in the 1980s with the always amazing Bernadette Peters leading the cast into a string of Tony Awards and accolades for the twisted fairy tale musical.

Originating at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this past season, this revival of the famed Sondheim musical (directed by Amanda Dehnert) was nothing short of magical.  Carried by an amazing cast with Jennie Greenberry as Cinderella, Rachael Warren as The Baker's Wife, Miriam A. Laube as The Witch, Miles Fletcher as Jack, with additional roles from Catherine E. Coulson (of "Twin Peaks" fame) and more, the production could not have been more perfectly casted.
Be careful what you wish for
How far would you go to make your wish come true? Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of beanstalk fame), and a baker and his wife find out when they take a journey into the woods. It’s a magical, bewildering place full of witches, wolves, giants and mysterious strangers, where familiar fairy tales get tangled up together. Wishes come true here, but at a price. Even storybook characters must face the music—of which there is plenty—in Sondheim and Lapine’s irreverent Tony Award–winner.

The originality, imagination, costumes, acting, singing, and whole production value behind this rendition was absolutely stunning, incredible, and amazing, all rolled into one.  I was stunned, glued to my seat, and (I'm sure) smiling like an idiot throughout the entire 3-hour performance.  It was one of the first times I watched a show that I didn't notice that a whole hour and a half had gone by before the intermission.  In fact, I was downright surprised.

I have personally been a fond lover of "Into the Woods" since my first introduction to the musical when I was 13 years old.  I was visiting with some of my theater friends at their parent's home, and the decision was made that we would watch the DVD of "Into the Woods", originally performed for PBS in 1989 by the original cast, including the talents of Bernadette Peters (The Witch), Joanna Gleason (The Baker's Wife), Chip Zien (The Baker), and Kim Crosby (Cinderella).  After the 3-hour DVD, I was hooked.  I begged my mom to buy me the original cast recording on CD (to which she happily obliged, always looking to expand my cultural education), and had the entire musical memorized in 3 weeks time.  Ever since then, I have repeatedly looked for opportunities to see it performed live, but have never had the luxury.  Staying with my trusty old DVD version for years, I was finally granted this amazing opportunity to see the wonderful production performed just the way I imagined - full of wimsy and talent like you wouldn't believe.  17 years after my first exposure to this wonderful musical, I was generously rewarded with one of the most astounding theatrical experiences of my young life.  

However, I must admit that I was most impressed with Rachael Warren, the actress who played The Baker's Wife.  That role has always been my favorite from the musical, as the depth and range of emotions (let alone notes sung!) is wide but detailed at the same time.  Ms. Warren immediately grabbed my attention, and kept it throughout the entire 3-hour production.  Knowing what happened in the story before having seen it, I gravitated to her more than any other character or actor in the production, and knew how I would fill with remorse once the character's fate was dealt.  Ms. Warren was the epitomized representation of The Baker's Wife, and I will never be able to see the role in any other way besides owned by her.  Ms. Warren, if you're reading, PLEASE contact me!  I would love to converse with you about theater and OSF and any and all that will come to conversation.  Find my contact information on my Contact Me page.

My wife and I saw the production originally arranged by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from Ashland, OR on tour at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts, a new theater located in the heart of Beverly Hills, CA.  Only here for a little over two weeks, I made a sincere effort to make sure to catch this production. 

Last night was actually my second time seeing the show, as I went and saw it first this past Saturday with my mom as a mutual Christmas present to one another.  We were both blown away by the production, and I knew immediately that I had to come and see it again with my wife, to which we made a date and saw it last night, only 5 days after my first initial performance experience.  IT IS THAT GOOD.

Please, if you have the means and live in the Los Angeles area, make a point of trying to get out to see this amazing production.  Tickets are very reasonable, starting at only $39.  You can find tickets here.

If you don't live in Los Angeles and can't see the live production, please consider purchasing the Original Broadway Cast production on Blu-Ray or DVD.  You can buy it from Amazon right here!

Subscribe to Our Blog Updates!

Share this article!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Return to top of page
Powered By Blogger | Design by Genesis Awesome | Blogger Template by Lord HTML