BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's INTO THE WOODS Turns Spotlight on Talented Teens
Any Stephen Sondheim musical is a lofty feat for even the most seasoned of performers. Sondheim's music is notable for its quick syncopated rhythms, timing and nuance, which is one reason Raleigh Little Theatre's Teens on Stage production of INTO THE WOODS is such an achievement.
INTO THE WOODS tells the story of a childless baker and his wife who look to reverse their family curse by venturing into a mythical wood full of familiar fairytale creatures, including Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. The Tony-Award winning musical opened on Broadway in 1987 and inspired the 2014 Disney film of the same name.
Like the stage musical and film, Act I, reimagines beloved fairytales right up to the point of happily ever after, with Act II taking a grim look at what comes after. And it is in Act II that the Teens on Stage ensemble really shine with their renditions of "Moments in the Woods," "No More," "No One is Alone," and the finale.
Led by standout performances by Sofia Alba (Cinderella), Will Taylor (Jack), and Eden Bartholomew (Baker's Wife), the ensemble cast, comprised of 19 kids ages 14 to 18, tackle Sondheim's music and lyrics with an unassuming familiarity and comfort level that is a testament to Meredyth Pederson Cooper 's and Shane Dittmar's direction.
Under the tutelage of professional designers, including John Maruca (Sound), Ryann Norris (Lighting) and Dennis Berfield (Scenic Design), the ten technical theatre students working behind the scenes as light and sound board operators, assistant stage managers and props masters were on point at the show's preview akin to crews working most regional mainstage productions.
Raleigh Little Theatre's Teens on Stage production of INTO THE WOODS is another fine example of the high caliber of young talent present in the Triangle area and the wealth of pre-professional training programs afforded to them by our regional and community theaters.
INTO THE WOODS runs through August 5th at The Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre. For more information visit:
Photo by Elspeth McClanahan.