Robert E. Lee High School Into the WoodsBy Cappies • Apr 30th, 2013 • Category: Cappies
To Grandmother’s house we go! Up the beanstalk, and into the woods, we find a baker’s dozen of storybook characters on a search for what they most want in the world. Following the story of the Baker and his wife, in search of ingredients for the witch’s brew, they run into Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack, all on their own journeys and adventures. Into the Woods, performed by Robert E. Lee High School, tells several of the classic Brothers Grimm tales with a twist, showing how “happily ever after” will not always come to all.
Into the Woods, written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, follows a Baker and his wife who desperately want a child. Unfortunately, a vengeful witch has cast a spell of infertility on the Baker’s family. In order to reverse the curse, the Baker and his wife must help the witch by find the ingredients for her potion, which will break her own curse of ugliness. Along their journey, they save Little Red Riding Hood and lonely Rapunzel, help poor Jack find riches, and aid Cinderella in finding her charming prince. While helping their newly found friends, the Baker and his wife find all the colorful items they seek for the witch’s brew, including “the cape as red as blood” from Little Red Riding Hood, “the hair as yellow as corn” from Rapunzel, “the cow as white a milk” from Jack, and “the slipper as pure as gold” from Cinderella. Although it seems as if all have found what they wish for, they are still unhappy, and only realize what was important to them after they’ve lost it.
As the characters journey further into the woods, the storyline develops and their motives become more clear. The Baker and his wife, played by Preston Taylor and Emily Kelly, show the difficulty of relationships under stress, as theirs is tested in the woods. In search of a way to lift the witch’s curse and build a family, ironically the two resort to arguing. Other notable characters include Little Red Riding Hood, delightfully played by Emiley Trowbridge, and The Witch, played by Emily Hidle, both equipped with strong voices and stage presence. The friendly competition between the boastful Prince Brothers was charming and brought enjoyable comic relief.
The live orchestra added much-needed liveliness to the grim story and repetitive songs. At times sound was an issue, but some of the actors were able to overcome the problem with their strong voices. The stage crew and scene transitions were on occasion, a distraction to the audience, but by Act II transitions were better executed.
Robert E. Lee High School’s Into the Woods brought the Brother’s Grimm tales of choices and consequences to a twisted and grim reality, and “happily ever after” certainly does not come to all in this musical.
by Margaret O’Meara of West Potomac High School
Photos by John Milewski
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9433.