W.T. Woodson High School Into the WoodsBy Cappies • Nov 15th, 2013 • Category: Cappies
Anyone wishing for an enjoyable performance to see during the weekend didn’t have to go too far into the woods to see W.T. Woodson High School’s production of Into the Woods…all while getting home before dark!
With the beautifully complex music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and the witty book written by James Lapine, the musical debuted in San Diego in 1986, then on Broadway in 1987 to rave reviews. From its original Broadway run, Joanna Gleeson as the Baker’s Wife snagged the Tony award for Best Actress in a musical, while the show snapped up several others, such as Best Score and Best Book. The love for the production has not dwindled since then, as a live-action musical film adaption is coming from Disney in 2014. The story follows the different lives of classic fairy tale characters with the new addition of a childless Baker and his Wife. While the first act follows the classic “happily ever after” the audience expects, the second act takes the story on unexpected track, focusing on the darker side of the happy endings. Venturing into the woods to achieve their own means, the character’s stories cross and overlap, creating an adventure of moral question, conflicting interests, and finding yourself, as the characters discover what can happen in pursuit of a wish.
Emily Bubeck (The Baker’s Wife) captivated with her control over Sondheim’s tricky score, and her apt comedic timing. Her believable chemistry with her bumbling husband, portrayed by Joshua Reiter, made the audience root for them throughout the production. Lara Taylor (The Witch) also won the affections of the audience through her beautiful vocals and emotional dedication to her character. She, along with the cast in general, maintained a gripping vocal energy that kept the audience engrossed in the story.
The cast as a whole had a creditable hold on Sondheim’s difficult music, and this talent was spectacularly executed within the core performers, such as Lexie McEntire (Cinderella) and Drew Bondy (Jack). Both performers never failed to impress with their gorgeous vocals and honest portrayal of their characters. Additionally, Bryce Menard (Cinderella’s Prince) charmed the audience with his smooth delivery and arrogant physicality. His banter with his princely partner-in-crime, Jacob Nelson (Rapunzel’s Prince) was also a crowd pleaser.
The ensemble all together brought energy and dedication to the production with passionate focus, never letting a technical fault or missed cue throw them off. A couple of stand-outs were Anna Phillips-Brown (Rapunzel) with her lovely vocals and comedic energy, and Claudia Caceres (Jack’s Mother) with her commanding stage presence and hilarious delivery. A unique piece of Woodson’s production was the interesting use of dance, notably Merritt Palmer as a ballet pointe soloist.
The tech truly helped bring the show to life. The set was incredibly detailed and convincing as a creepy thicket of woods, while also providing a fun and functional setting for the characters to maneuver on, giving the audience great stage pictures and levels. The costumes amazed the audience with their artistry, quality, and detail. Although there were a few lighting and sound issues, the ensemble worked through them admirably.
With their energy, dedication, and commendable performance of Sondheim’s intricate compositions, W.T. Woodson made their production a “wish come true” to watch. The choice is made, the task is set; you have to take the journey to see W.T. Woodson High School’s Into the Woods!
by Maggie Hardy of Hayfield Secondary School
Photos by Kristie McEntire
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9895.