Phoenix Theatre is tackling a well-known, well-loved and very technically challenging musical for its summer production: "Into the Woods."
For those unfamiliar with this show, it follows a cast of fairy tale characters (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc.) as their stories unfold and blend together. The second act follows the same characters after they have received their "happily ever-afters" and what they thought were their greatest wishes.
The show is difficult to pull off for numerous reasons: a challenging score, numerous storylines and characters unfolding on stage at the same time, and moments where actors, the orchestra and stage crew need to be in perfect coordination.
I was skeptical when I first heard rumors that "Into the Woods" was going to be Phoenix's summer musical because of how ambitious it is. My concern was the fact that there are no small parts in this show - almost everyone has a solo or "big" moment, meaning the entire cast of about 22 people must be nearly perfect.
I had no need to worry.
Each performer is fabulous. Acting is perfectly timed, pitches are spot-on and the few moments of dance are done fluidly.
In most productions, there are individuals who stand out as the "best" or most talented performer. In this production, however, it is nearly impossible to choose favorites. Jacqueline West's witch performance is funny and heartfelt, Peyton Catron as Little Red Riding Hood is fabulous and the two princes who sing the classic "Agony" are superb, to name a few.
This show also highlights the talent of the stage and tech crew. Lighting, sound effects and a few special surprises add another layer of magic to the production.
If you go:
Where: Sheldon Theatre
When: July 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 and 28
Times: July 19, 20, 26 and 27: 7:30 p.m.; July 25: 7 p.m.; July 28: 3 p.m.
Cost: $20, one child ticket (14 and under) free with each paying adult