BWW Interviews: Part Two of Our Interview Series with the Cast of INTO THE WOODS
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 Lauren Silva and Megan DeYoung who play Cinderella's Stepsister, Lucinda and The Witch, respectively.
BWW: What made you decide to audition?
LS: Into the Woods has always been one of my favorite musicals. The score, the lyrics... Everything strikes an emotional chord within me.
MD: Into the Woods has been one of my favorite musicals since I played Rapunzel my freshman year of college. I have wanted to do the show again forever! And the witch has been one of my dream roles for 18 years.
BWW: How familiar were you with the show prior to rehearsals?
LS: I had seen the show twice before and listened to the soundtrack numerous times.
MD: Very. I knew most of the songs and lots of the lines by heart. And going back and listening to it again prior to auditions really cemented it into my brain.
BWW: Why do you think Into the Woods is as beloved as it is?
LS: The music is extremely powerful. Sondheim is a genius at composing scores and creating lyrics that provoke emotion whether it be sad, joyous or angry. Plus this story contains so many elements that are relatable to everyone- growing up, facing your fears, deciding what to do when you're faced with a moral conflict. Anyone can find a little of themselves in this musical.
MD: Fairy tales are so familiar and comfortable to most of us, so the backdrop is kind of a user-friendly one. Then, when you add the brilliance of Sondheim, the questions that get asked, the gray areas of these familiar stories, and the "what ifs" and "what's nexts" become so powerful and engaging that you just can't turn away.
BWW: What has it been like to bring this show to life?
LS: It's been a lot of hard work. In addition to the score being extremely difficult, we also have a complicated (but absolutely incredible) set and extravagant costumes to maneuver around.
MD: Arduous! The music alone is a huge challenge--lots and lots of words, melodies that are completely different from the accompaniment, super-fast tempos, and uncommon rhythms. Then, adding in character, giving them voice and layers and physicality--I'm exhausted! But it is so worth it, especially working with this cast and directors. We all have wanted to make it amazing.
BWW: Into the Woods is a huge ensemble piece. Which character do you identify with the most?
LS: I feel the strongest connection to Little Red. I've always been the type to "stick to the path" and not question things but as I've gotten older I've realized that maybe I should question the way things are. How else will things change?
MD: Right now, it's the Witch, for sure. I'm sure that's mostly because I've spent a lot of time with her these last few weeks! Before we started, though, I would have to say the Baker's Wife. Her "Is it always 'or'? Is it never 'and'?" speaks to my relationship with theatre. I have to walk the line of how much time away from my family (my husband and four kids) is healthy, while still being true to what I am good at and enjoy. But... "When you've had your 'and' and it's back to 'or' makes the 'or' mean more than it did before" rings true.
BWW: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
LS: My favorite part is when the baker and his father sing "No More." It's all that I can do to keep from sobbing hysterically. It's such a beautiful and defining moment for the baker. I also like "Agony Reprise" just because of the line "dwarfs are very upsetting."
MD: "The Last Midnight." The Witch really gets to lay it all out there and there's a lot for the characters and the audience to learn at that moment.
BWW: What's been the best part about working on this production?
LS: The best part is getting to work with such a fantastic group of people. Every individual is very talented in their own right.
MD: I have really enjoyed being pushed to bring out every facet of this character. She's a tough nut to crack, and I feel I have grown as an actress because of it.
BWW: There are few Broadway composers who are as prolific and respected as Stephen Sondheim. What's your favorite Sondheim show?
LS: Into the Woods has always been my favorite Sondheim show. However, if I had to pick another I'd either say Sweeney Todd or Company.
MD: Into the Woods barely edges out Sunday in the Park With George.
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?
LS: Definitely Into the Woods. Phantom is lovely in its own right but it doesn't leave me feeling anything.
MD: Oh, man. Phantom had so many amazing elements to it set-wise and some seriously new groundbreaking music. But, I am always going to be partial to Into the Woods, so I may not be the right one to answer that question.
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?
LS: I never really thought about that... I suppose the giant symbolizes something different to each character- she is the result of greed and selfishness on Jack's part. She also embodies the idea that sometimes bad things happen to good people. My giantess would be my anxiety. I worry about everything and many times it prevents me from enjoying what life has to offer.
MD: I suppose I see the Giantess as something that one needs to be aware of, respect and face. It would make sense to think of that in light of the AIDS epidemic. Currently, I feel the world's giants are poverty, orphans and the genuine love of neighbor. My own personal giant would be my children's inevitable growing up. I sometimes forget that I need to be present and in the moment, and not to dismiss the promptings in my heart to have a healthy fear and respect for the passage of time.
BWW: What do you think audiences will enjoy most about Into the Woods?
LS: I think the audience will fall in love with the music and the set. The music because it is so powerful it will hit them like a ton of bricks, and the set because it's breathtaking.
MD: I think they will be pleasantly surprised at how much they think about the show--the music, the costumes, the incredible set, the characters, the story, as well as what they learn and think about because of it all. I think they'll love it, but maybe not for the reasons they think they will.