BWW Interviews: Part One of Our Interview Series with the Cast of Woodlawn's INTO THE WOODS

BWW Interviews: Part One of Our Interview Series with the Cast of Woodlawn's INTO THE WOODS
Joseph Urick (L) and Carly Elyse Gossen (R). Photo by Siggi Ragnar.

BroadwayWorld is thrilled to share with you an interview series featuring the cast of Woodlawn Theatre's current production of Into the Woods.

One of Sondheim's most enchanting works, Into the Woods follows the stories of the Baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella who wishes to attend the King's Festival and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. With the words 'once upon a time,' the story begins. We follow Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack (of beanstalk fame) encountering the consequences traditional fairytales conveniently ignore.

Into the Woods plays The Woodlawn Theatre, located at 1920 Fredericksburg Road, now through March 16. Tickets are on sale now at www.woodlawntheatre.org or by calling the box office at 210-267-8388. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays 3 pm. Tickets cost $15 - $23 with discounts for students, military and SATCO members.

Today, we bring you our interview with cast members Amanda Golden and Carlye Elyse Gossen who play The Baker's Wife and Little Red Riding Hood, respectively.

BWW: What made you decide to audition?

AG: I auditioned because Into the Woods was the very first live theatre performance I ever saw (13 years ago). Seeing that show was the reason I ever auditioned for any show. It started my love for theatre. I had lost my mother earlier that year as well so the show had resonated strongly with me. I've been waiting 13 years for the chance to audition! I wasn't going to miss this one.

CEG: Into the Woods is a show I have always wanted to do. You know how actors have a list of dream shows/roles? Well, this is one of my dream shows. The real question for me was what role do I audition for.... I was very tempted to audition for other roles in the show, but I decided to go for Little Red. I am 27 and will only have the opportunity to play this role for a few more years (thanks to my parents for youthful genetics). I can do more mature looking characters in the future.

BWW: How familiar were you with the show prior to rehearsals?

AG: I was very familiar with the show. After seeing it live years ago, I have since seen the taped Broadway production many times. One of our other cast members (Trevor Chauvin who plays Jack) and I have had multiple sing alongs with Netflix!

CEG: I was pretty familiar with the show. I had seen several local productions, but had never been part of one. I knew the music (for the most part).

BWW Interviews: Part One of Our Interview Series with the Cast of Woodlawn's INTO THE WOODS
Joseph Urick (L) and Amanda Golden (R). Photo by Siggi Ragnar.

BWW: Why do you think Into the Woods is as beloved as it is?

CEG: Well, who doesn't love a fairytale? We have been told these classic stories since we were tiny beings and most people dream about being royalty or having magical powers. The great thing about this is it shows these luxuries in an imperfect world. I believe this makes the show very attractive. Plus, there are so many underlying stories to connect with. This show has a moral, a situation, or some kind of hocus pocus you can relate to.

AG: I think Into the Woods is as beloved as it is because it really hits at the heart of humanity. We have all trusted someone we shouldn't have because we didn't know better. We have all wished for something and then felt the disappointment of not feeling the contentment we thought we would by obtaining that wish. We have all felt alone or lost a loved one or not known what to choose. We all have to make decisions about how we go about getting what we want. Do we see things in black and white or do we decide that it's our intentions that matter and not just our actions. We have all had to deal with the outcomes that derive from those decisions. It's timeless in this way. You can relate to any and all of these characters because they're all taking the journey of humanity. And as the Mysterious Man tells us, not one of us can run away from that journey.

BWW: What has it been like to bring this show to life?

CEG: It has been a wonderfully fun learning experience. Bringing this show to life takes meticulous work. Everything has to be spot on and no one can miss a beat. Everyone has had to be tuned in the second rehearsal starts (actors, crew, musicians), because if one person is lost or wanders, than the rest of the ensemble begins to roam.

BWW Interviews: Part One of Our Interview Series with the Cast of Woodlawn's INTO THE WOODS
From Left: Ben Scharff, Amanda Golden, and Trevor Chauvin. Photo by Siggi Ragnar.

BWW: Into the Woods is a huge ensemble piece. Which character do you identify with the most?

AG: I most relate to Cinderella. For years I was plagued with indecision. She decides her best decision is to simply not decide. And I made that decision for a long time.

CEG: I like to think I identify with many of the characters. I identify with the Baker's Wife and her eagerness to stand on her own. She is brave, independent, and willing to fight for what she wants. I can see a little bit of the Baker in me because he is always trying to please. He wants to make those he cares about happy. Cinderella always sees the good in people. Jack is passionate. Little Red loves food. I identify with all of these things.

BWW: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

CEG: Uhh, every moment is my favorite moment! Let's see... for my character my favorite moment is when Little Red challenges Jack about the golden harp in the magic kingdom. It is fun getting to taunt and play a child, especially a bratty one (I wish the scene wasn't so short). Another favorite is the Witch's Lament (Last Midnight). It is such an intense moment. Powerful, beautiful, and chill-worthy (and our witch does it more than justice)!

BWW: What's been the best part about working on this production?

CEG: There are so many great things about this production. For me, the best part is working with such a great ensemble. As you mentioned earlier, this show is an ensemble piece. That means we have to be a team (cast, crew, musicians). Everyone has to be on his or her toes, ready to go. If we don't work as a team, the show won't work. So, getting to know everyone, their character's intentions and instincts has been an enlightening experience. Plus, I have made new friends and deepened the connection to old friends.

BWW: There are few Broadway composers who are as prolific and respected as Stephen Sondheim. What's your favorite Sondheim show?

AG: Sunday in the Park with George.

CEG: Tough question... I haven't seen all of his shows, so I feel like I can't give a justified answer. I love music from all of his shows. I appreciate and honor the challenge he presents.

BWW: Into the Woods was part of a big Tony Award battle that is still talked about, so naturally we need to bring it up. With that said, Phantom of the Opera or Into the Woods. Which one, in your opinion, deserved the Tony for Best Musical back in 1988?

AG: Into the Woods. Because of the script.

CEG: Thank goodness I was 2-years-old at the time of these Tony Awards. I think they are both beautiful shows and worthy of countless honors. Can't everyone be a winner??

BWW: There's been a lot of talk from theater fans and critics about what the Giantess is supposed to represent, especially since Into the Woods premiered at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic. What do you think she stands for, and if you had your own Giantess to overcome, what would she be?

CEG: Maybe she stands for something big, but I'm boring and believe she stands for personal struggle. What happens when your world turns upside down? What is most important to you? What or who do you save? What do you risk? How do you overcome? My giantess? I think I would say being over critical on myself. I tend to think I never do well enough and that I can always do better. I'm a perfectionist. Looking for perfection is my giantess.

BWW: What do you think audiences will enjoy most about Into the Woods?

CEG: EVERYTHING!

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Jeff Davis Jeff Davis is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Theater with an emphasis in Directing.


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