BWW Review: INTO THE WOODS at EmilyAnn Theatre
INTO THE WOODS has always been one of my favorite musicals, I take any chance that I can to see it. So I was extremely excited to be able to see The EmilyAnn Theatre's production of the Sondheim classic, quite literally in the woods. In short, this is a very earnest production. It was done well despite some technical issues on the sound side.
Director Bridget Gates, created some beautiful moments within the show and played to her performers' strengths. I don't want to spoil anything, but there's a moment in act two after the battle with the giant involving the entire company that elicited gasps throughout the entire audience. Gates was not afraid to let the actors lean into the comedy that is there, which is vital when things start to get darker and heavier. There was also a creative reimagining of Cinderella's birds, where Holly Tiberi-Monti would dance around the stage as a flock of birds and this character was used to personify Cinderella's mother.
Speaking of Cinderella, Callie Iliff gave her servant-turned-princess a quiet confidence that mixed with her operatic soprano, fit the character and score to a T. Buddy Novak's Jack was less "touched" and more empty-headed, but his Jack had a clear itch for adventure after his trip to the kingdom of the giants. Finally, Gigi Wynn Gregersen's Baker's Wife was the true heart of this show. She balanced the heartwarming moments with strong comedic timing, and brought a fierce side to the potential mother.
The sound was the main issue with this production. With it being June, the company found themselves battling the overpowering buzz of cicadas - not to mention when an actor's microphone goes out, it is more difficult to quickly fix the issues, especially when it happens to one of the leading characters who doesn't get much time offstage as it did the night I attended.
There is something magical about being able to actually perform INTO THE WOODS in an outside space as beautiful as the EmilyAnn Gardens, and I wish that the set design highlighted that more. I've seen basic sets like this countless times and I wanted for the design to lean into the natural foliage and beauty of the gardens around the stage.
Overall, INTO THE WOODS at the EmilyAnn Theatre was a good time, despite some slight technical issues. As always, I am looking forward to my next trip into the woods.
INTO THE WOODS at the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens is running from:
May 31-June 30, 2019
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, June 30th at 8:15 p.m.
To buy tickets go to https://emilyanntheatre.ticketspice.com/into-the-woods