Popular television shows such as Once Upon a Time and Grimm and the revamping of fairytales in movies such as Snow White and the Huntsman show that modern audiences are hungry for old tales, especially ones with modern twists.
The Grand Theater’s production of Into the Woods playing now through Oct. 27, mixes fragments from a myriad of well-known fairytales and combines them into the telling of one story. The play continues to tell what happens after the happily-ever-after in the second act.
“I think that James Lapine and Steven Sondheim have created an incredible musical that speaks to our hearts, speaks to our intellect and speaks to our fancies, and in doing so also scares us a little bit,” says Neil Vanderpool the associate dean of performing arts and “Into the Woods” choreographer. “I believe personally that the show is about choices we make in life.”
“Be careful about what you wish for”
The play opens with Cinderella, the Baker and Jack all making a wish for something they each want.
“Sometime you need to be careful about what you wish for because you might get it, and what are the consequences of that wish?” says Vanderpool. “Do we run when life is tough? Do we value money more than family? Do we destroy our own selfishness? Do we pluck a flower when it isn’t ours to take, or do we find the path that leads to a world that is golden, silky and pure?”
The play can be seen through philosophical eyes like Vanderpool or just for the entertaining story and good music.
The set design uses a 30 foot turntable to assist in the movement of characters though the woods. This was the first time the Grand Theatre used such a large turntable. The trimming on the edge of the turntable was a little distracting and the sound of the motor was loud at times, which brings the viewer out of the moment.
The cast of “Into the Woods” played their roles well and are good singers, which add to the enjoyment of the musical
The costumes were well done, especially the wolf and the mask movements. The way the giant was portrayed gave the cast a chance to look right at the audience in the balcony.
“The audience who comes to ‘Into the Woods’ will be entertained they will be visually stunned,” says Vanderpool. “Plus hopefully [the audience] will catch the themes and messages.”
Overall it is a fun play except for a few technical sound glitches. It is a good choice for opening the fall season at the Grand Theatre and for October.
The play runs from now through Oct. 27. For details and tickets visit www.the-grand.org.