♫ Opportunity Is NOT A Lengthy Visitor ♬♩

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For anyone that loves fairy tales, Disney-esque stories, or just Sondheim’s music, this is a MUST SEE!!!!

Theatre In The Mountains presents INTO THE WOODS

“Into the Woods,”  for those not familiar, is a brilliant weaving of several fairy tales into one complex narrative about what it takes to get what you want and the consequences that follow.  Act 1 is a light, positive and funny chapter, for lack of a better word, that shows the main characters struggling to make their dreams a reality.  From the childless Baker to the poverty stricken Jack, each character wishes that their situations could be fixed.  Then, thanks to some magic beans from the Witch’s garden, opportunity strikes.  Act 2 is the chapter when the lessons are learned.  The songs are a little less jovial, but much more touching and still just as clever.

In this production, director Ian Leonard, has created not just another show, but an experience that is brilliant.

The use of this space and the space around this space and the atmosphere lend themselves fully to the characters who traverse the woods in search of their wishes.  The actors stayed in character as they walked from behind the set and into the actual woods around the audience.  To watch them as they explored the woods just added that extra layer of complexity.  Not only do you get the main focal point of the story which is happening on stage, but you get some of the side story as you watch the actors that are off stage.

The usual way that the show begins is with an older gentleman, known as The Narrator.  As I said, that is the usual way. Mr. Leonard changed the dynamic of the story by placing the Narrator position in the hands of a child.  The show now becomes a product of imagination rather than a series of events, which I feel draws the audience in even more.  It also makes songs like “Witch’s Lament” and “Children Will Listen” that much more moving.  Let me tell you, there were several tears to be shed by the end.

But the good things about this show aren’t only the direction and the set, no.  They are also the actors themselves.  This is one of the strongest casts I’ve seen recently.  And that’s including the Faustus cast at the SJRep.  But “that’s another story. Never mind – Anyway,”   yes, the cast was great!  The Princes in their smug yet charming demeanor.  The feisty little granny who can skin a wolf.

But let’s break this down a little further.  Jeremy Goel, as the Narrator made it so believable that this was just him playing with his toys.  At first he was wide eyed and excited as he unpacked his backpack with the toy representation of the characters, but later realizing that even in make believe there are consequences.

Alison Koch, as Cinderella, was wonderful!  Her voice just soars in that open space and our hearts break with hers as she realizes that her Prince isn’t as charming as she had hoped.

The naive lad, Jack, played by Stefan Montana had line delivery that was perfection.  So hopeful, yet so clueless.

Shawn Bender makes you laugh, hope, cry, then hope again in his turn as the Baker.  Fantastic role for him!

Cindy Powell, as the Baker’s Wife, has one of my favorite songs in the show “Moments In The Woods.”  She added little subtleties in the delivery and facial expressions that I LOVE to see actors do especially if it hasn’t been done by other people.

Speaking of… That leads me to The Witch.  She was amazing! Kristen Hermosillo delivers in this role!  As I was saying with Ms. Powell, Ms. Hermosillo interpreted her role uniquely as well.  My favorite moment of the play, and there were a lot of them, but absolute fave is when she sings “And then bang! Crash! And the lightning flash! And – Well, that’s another story. Never mind – Anyway,” most people I’ve seen sing this song with fear about the flashes and the noise, but it looked like Ms. Hermosillo, was reveling  in it.  And then she laughed off the never mind,  get back to business – anyway.  Sheer magic!

Samantha Stidham and Elizabeth McClelland as Florinda and Lucinda were hilarious!!  They combine sass, conceit, haughty into a single diva-licious element and work that stage!

Not to be outdone, as the Stepmother, Kimberly Kay is just as haughty and sassy, but add a gallon of conniving and you have the Mutha of all divas!  Just watching her get the shoe onto her daughters’ feet is worth the price of the ticket!  Just saying!

Then, there is Brett Carlson that pulls double duty as the Wolf and the Steward. I cannot describe this in a way that doesn’t sound weird.  But here goes.  Ya know how people get sympathy pains or feel empathy for others? Well, his wolf is SO focused on the deliciousness that will be Little Red Riding Hood that my mouth started to water.  Think of it was a mind meld.  I know I am weird.  Then to see him take the Steward into what I think of as an over-exaggeration of an over-exaggeration of himself.   It was brilliant!  I hope he doesn’t get mad that I say that.

The plucky sarcasm and attitude that is Little Red Riding Hood was not lost by Lisa Meehan.  She had the audience laughing throughout the show and cheering for her after “I Know Things Now.”

I could go on with this for the entire cast, but alas the entry would be too long and I would rather you click the link below to get tickets and see for yourself this fantastic show.  It only has 3 more performances: Thursday 7/18, Friday 7/19 and Saturday 7/20 all shows begin at 7PM.  Get your tickets here: Theatre In The Mountains

Congrats to Jillian Cummings, the cast and staff of Into The Woods!! You have yourself a true gem!

As Stephen Sondheim says: “Opportunity is NOT a lengthy visitor”  Get your tickets now.  You only have 3 chances to see the show.

I Just Thought Of Something That Scares Me A Little…

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I  spent my 4th of July working on Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin and a couple of sewing projects while Perry was at work.

I had to make sure to get my concepts on paper, check out when I can interview another person for the Assistant Director position, write out choreography, character, and costume ideas for JCS. I know that if I don’t do this now, I will probably forget what I was thinking.

I’ve been thinking about how I could best go about explaining my directorial debut.  Aside from simply blogging about it, I think I will try and record some of the rehearsals with either audio or video devices.  For now, I think I should get this first while it is in my head…

As I was compiling my notes for JCS, I began to think about the emails and Facebook messages I’ve gotten from people excited about the auditions and the show itself. I am so happy that people are excited for the show and for my first project in this capacity.  I also get just the tiniest bit nervous because that little voice in my smarts-holder starts asking questions.  The big one is “What if you can’t pull this off?”  or worse “what if the people don’t like working with you in this role?” Gah!!!  Shuddup, party-pisser! Its gonna be awesome, because I am Roarsome! I have a shirt to prove it.  So there! Thanks Sarah! Anyway, back on track…

Then I began to breakdown the characters and who sings what and I see that while there are many solos to be had, what happens if I get a TON of people to audition and I don’t have parts for them?  What’s really playing with my head is what if I have way more good people that are friends than I have parts?  How do I tell my friends that I can’t/didn’t cast them? Not only that, what will the backlash be?  I suppose I could just make it a REALLY large cast!  Kidding.  That would be absurd.

Seriously, though.  I very nearly had a panic attack while I was sitting at the table holding a glass of water, thinking of the next thing that I had to write down.

It amazes me how quickly and randomly the brain works.  I was just looking through the perusal script as I was listening to the soundtrack when BAM! my thoughts take a 90 degree turn at 341  mph and I see my glass start to shake in my hand.  For a split second things get a little unfocused because I go in that daydream kind of headspace where I am not really focusing on anything, and I just see all these people being angry with me.  So my breath starts to catch and then I hear one of those screaming firework things and it pulls me right out of it. So… thanks for scaring the shit out of me Mr. Neighbor Guy!

You see those eggs up there ⇡?  Imagine feeling like that…

ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!  

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But let’s think about things I shan’t be stressing over…

I think I have the majority of my staff!! Woot woot!!

So as of this moment, this is the unconfirmed dream team that will help make JCS frakkin’ amazing!

Music Director: Jean Narunsky

Vocal Director: Judy Steinle

Costumes: Sue Howell (I was just kidding with her saying that she had to build all the costumes from scratch.  She didn’t even bat an eye and she said “Oh, I can do that!”)

Stage Manager: Emily Pye!!  (She is all kinds of amazing!)

Set Design: Stephen Wathen

Light Design: Mike Munoz (There will be no smoke machines.)

Still figuring out Sound, AD, and Tech Director, but I shall keep you posted on that.

The next thing that I need to do is to find out what the budgeting looks like for this show.  I think I have some ideas on how to save some dough without compromising everything that I want. So that calls for a meeting with my Producer ladies, Nancy Kwong and Liz Dale.

Well, now that I am super excited again, I think I am going to go back to work on my “stuffs.”

I think I wanna knit now and listen to a podcast.

It’ll be a nice way to wind down!

If you have any advice on how to let a friend down easy so that I am prepared for auditions, I would LOVE to hear it. All suggestions will be helpful.  Even the totally looney ones!  Leave a comment below with your ideas. Cheers!