The Fairy Tale Inspired Musical was Enchanting
By Katelyn Cody
The Mimes and Mummers put on a production of Into the Woods as their spring musical the weekend of February 21st-23rd in the Collins Auditorium. The musical, written by James Lapine with music by Stephen Sondheim, originally premiered on Broadway in 1987 and follows the story of peasant baker and his wife as they embark on the quest to reverse a curse from witch in order to have the child they have both longed for. The show may seem familiar to many viewers, as it retells many of the beloved fairy tales we were told as children. Fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel are all twisted into one story. The Baker and his wife are sent into the wood to retrieve several items in order to the witch to reverse the curse on their family. The items that the couple have to find are directly from each of the fairy tales referenced in the show, including a cow white as milk (Jack and the Beanstalk), a cape as red as blood (Little Red Riding Hood), a slipper as pure as gold (Cinderella), and hair as yellow as corn (Rapunzel). After successfully retrieving each of the items and finally having a child, the baker and his wife are not free from trouble as Act II finds the main characters facing a giant on the loose.
I thought the Mimes and Mummers production of the show was great, but first I would like to commend those who worked backstage for the show, since stage crew never gets the credit they deserve. I thought the set of the show was phenomenal and was astounded by the crew’s ability to create a multi-story set. I thought the use of the platforms was really great to vary the height. I loved Rapunzel’s tower and am sure that a tower that high that could still support the weight of several people on it was no small feat to accomplish.
The costume design was also superb and one thing that stood out to me was the fact that the Baker’s Wife wore an outfit that included pants and combat boots. In most cases, a show that is based on fairy tales would hark back to tradition and have all of the females wear long dresses. But I liked this diversion from the norm, I think that the less traditional costuming choice demonstrated the Baker’s Wife’s independence throughout the show.
And of course, the acting was wonderful. Catherine Rabus as the Witch absolutely blew me away and I started to question why she’s not currently on Broadway. Other notably great performances include Magee Snyder as the Baker’s Wife and Lily Ochs as the Narrator. One of my favorite parts of the show was when the Narrator would come out with a flock of fake birds to simulate Cinderella talking to her animal companions. I don’t know if anyone else thought it was funny, by the Narrator speaking for the birds using only the word “cheep” was hilarious to me. Another person I really enjoyed watching was Allyson Lambie as Little Red. Little Red is my favorite character in the show and I thought she played the part particularly well. I loved her rendition of “I Know Things Now.”
While I really did enjoy the show, there was one aspect that I thought took away from it. The sound system made it very difficult to hear the actors when they were signing, as the pit orchestra was louder than the volume of the mics. However, I understand that Collins is an old building with old equipment and it is crazy expensive to replace sound equipment. Maybe that just goes to show that the arts should receiving more funding…