BWW Interview: Director Karen Connor of INTO THE WOODS at Southgate Community Players says It's Funny and Poignant Sondheim Show!

BWW Interview: Director Karen Connor of INTO THE WOODS at Southgate Community Players says It's Funny and Poignant Sondheim Show!
Left to right: Jamee Perryman, Dalton Pittman-Cahill,
Tamara Marla Laflin, Ashley Lyle, & Andrew McComas.

The Sondheim favorite, Into the Woods, will close out the 2017-2018 Main Stage productions of the Southgate Community Players and is opening May 4th in Southgate. In this Tony-Award winning book and score, James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim bring together classic storybook characters with a production that is both enchanting and touching. Characters venture "into the woods" with hopes of having their wishes granted, but later learn the dire consequences of their actions. The musically supplicated show pulls the audience in multiple emotional directions - captivating and bewitching them from beginning to end. BroadwayWorld Detroit had a moment to speak with Karen Connor, SCP's director for Into the Woods, about her love for the theatre and gain some insight on the show.

BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you give me a brief background of your theatre career for our readers as an introduction?

Karen Conner: I've been doing theatre for probably twenty-five years on and off as a performer, costumer, director, and assistant director. My original experience came from television with a cable company and public access television. Then as Tamara* got older, I moved into live theatre. The whole family's been involved with live theatre since Tamara was five years old.

(*It is a family affair for Into the Woods: Connor's daughter, Tamara Marla Laflin plays the role of the Baker's Wife and her husband, Logan Laflin, plays the role of Cinderella's Prince.)

BWW Detroit: How would you describe Into the Woods in your own words?

Karen Connor: Into the Woods is basically a conglomeration of fairytales and people getting their wishes, then the consequences that come from getting your wish. Sometimes what we wish for is not what's best for us and some of the fairytale characters learned that the hard way. It's on time so it's funny and poignant.

BWW Detroit: What made you want to direct Into the Woods?

Karen Connor: It's been about fifteen years since I directed a show but I've been performing or costuming in those the years. It's such an interesting show that I really felt like it was time to direct again. Gratefully, I have a superlative cast with many, many years of combined experience and that makes it a lot easier to come back after so long to direct.

BWW Detroit: Do you have a special pre-show or post-show ritual you do with the cast?

Karen Connor: I don't have any pre-show rituals besides lots and lots of rehearsal, but after the show run is over, we do have a cast party and exchange gag gifts to commemorate individual participation. It's lots of fun to see what people come up with based on your role in the show.

BWW Detroit: What would you say makes your Into the Woods stand out from other productions since it is such a well-known piece of theatre?

Karen Connor: The cast of the show really, really love the music. It is evident in every rehearsal that although the challenge is great, the words are many and come very fast, and the passion for theatre comes through. It is that passion that the audience can feel and see that makes this production well worth attending.

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

Karen Connor: There are so many great moments in the show. I love when the baker and his wife discover each other after being married for quite a while through the new experiences and they see each other through new eyes. I really enjoy when the two princes, who are brothers and are competing with each other as siblings often do, pour out their hearts in the song called "Agony." The witch sings "Children Will Listen" and it's a lesson for every parent that will touch the hearts of the audience.

BWW Detroit: Why do you think people should come see Into the Woods?

Karen Connor: Just tell your readers come for the music, stay for the laughs, and go home with the lesson! It's a great show and you can't beat Sondheim!

Into the Woods opens May 4th at the Davis Auditorium inside the Davis Middle School in Southgate. For more information on Southgate Community Players or tickets to the show, visit www.scponstage.com.

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From This Author Katie Laban

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