@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

Into The Woods

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine, Directed by Nora Petty

  • The full cast in the Act 1 Finale (L to R) Cinderella's Stepmother (Marissa Bond), Lucinda (Emma Klement ), Cinderella's Prince (Rafael Medina), Cinderella (Nora Petty), Florinda (Abigail Bennett), The Witch (Juli Stephenson), Jack's Mother (Diane Thomas), Narrator (Mia Ayon ), Jack (James Boberg), The Mysterious Man (Gorton Smith), The Steward (Casey Sedillo ), Little Red Riding Hood (Zoe Ayon ), Rapunzel (Christa Brianne), Rapunzel's Prince (Shaun Hadfield), Baker (David Reyes), Baker's Wife (Carol Ayon)
  • (L to R): Baker (David Reyes), and Mysterious Man (Gorton Smith)
  • (L to R): Cinderella's Prince (Rafael Medina)and Rapunzel's Prince (Shaun Hadfield)
  • (L to R): Baker (David Reyes), Cinderella's Stepmother (Marissa Bond), Lucinda (Emma Klement ), and Florinda (Abigail Bennett)
  • (L to R): Baker's Wife (Carol Ayon) and Cinderella (Nora Petty)
  • (L to R): Baker (David Reyes) and Little Red Riding Hood (Zoe Ayon )
  • (L to R): The Witch (Juli Stephenson), Rapunzel (Christa Brianne) and Narrator (Mia Ayon )
  • (L to R): Jack (James Boberg ), and Little Red Riding Hood (Zoe Ayon )
  • (L to R): Rapunzel's Prince (Shaun Hadfield), Rapunzel (Christa Brianne) and The Witch (Juli Stephenson)
  • Jack (James Boberg)
  • (L to R) Florinda (Abigail Bennett), Cinderella's Stepmother (Marissa Bond), Lucinda (Emma Klement ), The Steward (Casey Sedillo ), Jack's Mother (Diane Thomas), Baker (David Reyes), Baker's Wife (Carol Ayon), The Witch (Juli Stephenson) and Little Red Riding Hood (Zoe Ayon )
  • L to R): The Witch (Juli Stephenson), Rapunzel (Christa Brianne)
  • (L to R): Baker's Wife (Carol Ayon), Baker (David Reyes) and Jack (James Boberg)
  • (L to R): Baker (David Reyes) and Baker's Wife (Carol Ayon)

Jul 25-Aug 03, 2014

FRI AUG 1| 8:00 PM
SAT AUG 2| 8:00 PM
SUN JUL 25, AUG 3| 2:30 PM

Description

The musical cleverly begins with the characters of "Little Red Riding Hood," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Rapunzel," and "Cinderella" whose stories continue after the "happily ever after" in their own fairy tales. In addition there is the story of a childless baker and his wife who wish to have a child. their interaction with a Witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey. Musical Numbers include "Into the Woods, "There's a Giant in the Sky," " Agony," and "Ever After."

Director's Note

My theatre career really started in the confines of my own bedroom among my stuffed animals, using hand-me-down gowns and items found around the house. I also remember the first time I watched Into the Woods. It was a cold snowy day in upstate New York as I put the video into my VHS player and I remember being entranced as I watched more than two hours of this amazing production. I knew at that moment, before I died, I would do this show. Since then, I have had the opportunity to re-watch, re-listen and re-read Woods. Each and every time it still has the same magical affect on me. Every time, there is a song or line that has new meaning for me and I am brought to tears. It's been almost a year since this concept emerged. It started out no bigger than a bean and it has grown to the show you see before you - a little girl, forced to stay inside because of the weather, imagines familiar characters together in a story from her own imagination. This show would not be possible without my talented cast and crew who agreed to the summer stock model. They arrived the first day with their roles already memorized and worked 13 days straight to completion. What you see here is a community of people coming together with one purpose: to take YOUR hand and lead you into Sondheim's brilliant work. I am so honored they decided to join me on this adventure. I believe we have come out the other end of the wood better than before we went in. It is my tradition to dedicate each show I do to someone. This show is for any child (or adult) seeing Into the Woods for the first time. May it be magical and wonderful. Thank you for coming and enjoy the show.

Credits

Baker
Baker's Wife
Cinderella
Cinderella's Prince
Cinderella's Stepmother
Florinda
Jack
Jack's Mother
Little Red Riding Hood
Lucinda
Narrator
Rapunzel
Rapunzel's Prince
The Mysterious Man
The Steward
The Witch
Book Written By
Director
Music And Lyrics

Reviews

BBT production enchants - 'Into the Woods' a dark family spin on old familiar fairy tales
- By Gerald M. Kane , Las Cruces Bulletin

In his iconic 1976 work "The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales," noted psychologist Bruno Bettelheim observes that children "wandering in enchanted worlds begin to sense for themselves the textures of justice, fidelity, love, courage.... not as lessons imposed, but as discovery, as experience, as an organic part of the adventure of living."

If you substitute "woods" for "worlds" in this quote ... you see the raison d'etre for the title of the award winning "Into the Woods" playing through this week-end at the Black Box Theatre.

There is not a doubt that Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine were familiar with Bettelheim's book! They knew Bettelheim's hypotheses as they started work on their significant, award-winning, layered 1987 musical "Into the Woods," which is enjoying a beautiful run through this week-end at the Black Box Theatre. I encourage you to put down this review and call 523-1223 to make reservations, because I feel the show will sell out quickly.

While "Into the Woods" is billed as a "family" musical, there are some dark elements woven throughout - death - vengeance - infidelity and melancholy. Some of these themes may go over children's heads as they watch the show. There is certainly more than enough to peke their interest.

Sondheim and Lapine's genius was to cloak these negative / real world elements in the fantasy world of the well known Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. There is a mash-up of characters and story lines, overlain with some new characters, who are not a part of the original mix.

So as not to make this musical into a maudlin work, the director needs to set the show with a light, often comic touch. Tiaras off to the magical Nora Petty, whose terrific performance I first encountered in the Joan Blondell role in the LCCT production of "Dames at Sea." Nora has assembled a wonderful large, talented ensemble cast who understand the nuances of the challenging script, not to mention the tongue workings and vocal gymnastics required to make Sondheim's music and lyrics come to life. While Nora now lives in Santa Fe, I hope she will return to Las Cruces and show us more of her directorial skills.

Christa Brianne has done a superb job in musically preparing the cast who not only enunciate by stay on pitch throughout.

As we enter the theatre we see a child's room in disarray. Toys are strewn all over.... What we come to realize is that each toy is a prop to better help move the plot along. The bedroom disappears and is replaced by a series of eerie trees as the characters enter the unknown, dark woods inhabited by a witch and a lady giant.

To summarize the plot would be next to impossible and would take away from your own sense of discovery watching what transpires on the stage. Just know that we get to take a look at the characters from both the inside and outside and discover what makes them tick.

There are numerous surprises even for those of us who have seen the show before. The grandfather-ly like narrator is replaced by a darling, articulate nine-year old played expertly by Mia Ayon. As the characters vision is clarified as they journey into the woods, each discovers more about themselves and more about the world into which they are thrust.

There is so much to commend about this production... even down to the eclectic costume design by Nora Petty and Diane Thomas which transcends time, underlining the timelessness of the plot.

Several actors in the production stand out.
Not as if she hasn't done enough, Nora Petty has taken on the challenging role of Cinderella who must sing the challenging song "On the Steps of the Palace" which she delivers perfectly.

David Reyes, whose work I have admired in all of his appearances on stage gets to show off his significant vocal chops, especially in "No More" and "It Takes Two" which he sings with the endearing and talented Carol Ayon.

Juli Stephenson's witch bears no resemblance to the interpretation by Bernadette Peters in the original Broadway cast, but she puts her own stamp on the difficult role. Her performance is revelatory, and her delivery of "Last Midnight" gave me better insight into her role.

Rafael Medina's Prince is on target; appropriately superficial and smarmy. His seduction of the Baker's wife is downright cringe-worthy.

In sum, you will find much to think about as you leave the Black Box. "Into the Woods" affords the serious theatre lover, or even a first time audience member to dig deep and discover significant music and important elements about themselves and their reaction to those in the world into which they have been thrust. Bravo to all!

"Into the Woods" runs through August 3 at the Black Box Theatre.
Remaining Performances are Friday, August 1 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, August 2 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 3 at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $12.00 regular admission and $10.00 for students and seniors over 65. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.

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