Calvin Remsberg Directs a Darker INTO THE WOODS
Calvin Remsberg is directing a unique production of Sondheim's Into The Woods for Lucid by Proxy's tenth anniversary. His darker take on the fairy tale mash-up is being staged in a unique performance space and opens October 22, 2010."When I was approached by Lucid by Proxy about directing Into The Woods I said I would only be interested if we could find a non-traditional space to do it in; something industrial, like an open abandoned store or warehouse. We started looking at spaces in the spring but didn't find anything that fit that description until we stumbled upon Big Art Labs over the summer." "We aren't trying to hide The Warehouse," he says, "but rather embrace it, and we're modernizing the look of the show by eliminating a lot of the traditional fairy tale trappings. This is a slimmed down, low-tech version of Into The Woods that focuses on the truth of the storytelling and the music. As the action gets more intense, the storytelling gets darker, especially as more characters die in the second act."
A Sondheim musical is notoriously complex, both emotionally and musically. Into The Woods contains a great deal of humor, but there is also pain and loss at its core. To Remsberg, "the heart of the show resides in the relationship between the Baker and his father, and ultimately the Baker's realization of the importance of family. In the end, it feels that a new family is forming...It rather reminds me of the end of Candide."General Hospital's Anthony Geary is headlining the cast as the Narrator/Mysterious Man and Remsberg is thrilled to direct his friend in the role. "Tony has been a private voice student of mine for several years and kept expressing his interest in getting back onstage again. When this opportunity came up, I thought of him immediately. Wait until you see him. He's really great in the role." Joining Geary in the cast are David Pevsner (Baker), Valerie Rachelle (Baker's Wife), Jennifer Malenke (Cinderella), Shannon Nelson (Little Red Riding Hood), Michael Uribes (Jack), Jessica Pennington (Witch), Pamela Hamill (Jack's Mom), Nancy Gassner-Clayton (Stepmother), Jessie Withers and Sarah Orr (Florinda & Lucinda), Johnny Cannizzaro (Milky White), Jayson Kraid (Father), AnnaLisa Erickson (Mom/Grandmother/Giant), James Paul Xavier (Steward), David Nett (Cinderella's Prince/Wolf), Josie Yount (Rapunzel), Zachary Ford (Rapunzel's Prince), Sarah J. Stuckey (Sleeping Beauty), and Carissa Ro Gatti (Snow White). Musical director for Into The Woods is Richard Berent, who Remsberg says is doing a "bang up job. Wait till you hear the cast! I am thrilled to have it so well sung. And I won't say more...come and be surprised!" Coincidentally, the musical will open October 22, just in time for theatergoers looking for a special pre-Halloween experience, and will continue through November 20 at Big Art Labs, 651 Clover Street, Downtown Los Angeles 90031. For more information about the show go to www.lucidbyproxy.com/.Photo: Tris Beezley Calvin Remsberg has worked extensively both as a performer and as a director. He is perhaps best remembered by Los Angeles audiences for his portrayal of Firmin, the crotchety opera house manager in the record breaking production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Ahmanson Theater. He played the Beadle in Sweeney Todd for both national tours and the acclaimed television production, plus he has directed the show four times, including the 20th Anniversary production at the Ahmanson, starring Kelsey Grammer, Christine Baranski, and Neil Patrick Harris, and this year's production at Musical Theatre West in Long Beach. Remsberg has directed numerous works for the stage including The Medium (with Glenn Close), Gypsy, Brigadoon, Hello Dolly (3D Theatricals), Urinetown (Interact) and Sunday in the Park with George (West Coast Ensemble). He also maintains a private voice studio in Van Nuys, California, with students that include David Hyde Pierce and American Idol finalist Adam Lambert.