BWW Review: INTO THE WOODS at Red Curtain Theatre Get Their Wishes
I wish....more than anything that the Red Curtain would have extended their run of INTO THE WOODS just a little longer, because I knew of other people who had scheduling conflicts, but really wanted to see it. And they should have seen it. It was comparable to the 1987 Broadway version. I ended up catching the last show of the run on Sunday, February 23, at Staples Auditorium at Hendrix College, and though I thought the audience lacked in energy, the cast pushed on through their wishes like pros.
Director Kristen Sherman mentioned in her notes that several of the cast mates who were originally in the 2014 production with the Conway Dinner Theater, were reunited and have learned a lot in the past six years. "We needed to tell this story again, because now we aren't just singing someone else's words," Sherman wrote. Through building the Red Curtain family, they have learned and grown throuh those years. "I will forever be grateful for the lessons learned, the friendships formed, and the family created in the woods," Sherman concluded.
For those of you who are in the woods and have not seen this show, it is about several storybook characters looking for more in life: Cinderella wants to go to the ball; Jack and his mother need more money; the baker and his wife want to lift a spell; little red riding hood goes to grandma's house; and the witch wants a potion. Act one goes along their story lines. However, act two is about consequences of their actions in act one. It's a somewhat depressing ending to the happily ever after scenarios, but it's funny, the music is great, and there is a moral to the story. I mean, you can't go wrong with Stephen Sondheim.
This is one of my top favorite musicals, so I will try to not be so biased, however, the Red Curtain continues to put out top notch quality work. Returning actors for this show were Jay Ruud as Narrator and Mysterious Man, Amber Welch as Cinderella, David Allison as the Baker, Mary Nail as Florinda, Kennedy Reynolds as Lucinda, Billie Overstreet as Jack's Mother, Rita Woodward as the Witch, Ashley Murie as Rapunzel, and Johnny Passmore as Rapunzel's Prince. All seemed very comfortable in their characters. I enjoyed Ruud's little introductory dance, Passmore's charm, and Welch's singing was fabulous.
There were new cast members to the show that really made an impression on me as well. Jackson Karl as Jack was very enthusiastic; April Erickson tackled three roles (Cinderella's Mother, Giant, and Grandmother); and Belle Overstreet looked A LOT like the Little Red Riding Hood in the original Broadway production and mirrored the facial expressions successfully, especially while dancing with the Wolf, who was played by Tyler Alexander. The show was enjoyable.
Not only does Red Curtain put on full blown Broadway shows, they also cater to the smaller thespians. Disn'ey's 101 Dalmations Kids will be presented Friday through Sunday, March 6-8, at Conway Junior High School, located at 1815 Prince Street, in Conway. To find out more information, visit their website at redcurtaintheatre.com.
Photos courtesy of Wittenburg Photography