Newtown Arts Company's ‘Into the Woods’ Opens Thursday
Happily ever after may not be all it’s cracked up to be in this twist on fairly tale endings.
For those of us without tiny feet, we secretly hope Cinderella’s prince snores. Short hair? We wish dandruff upon Rapunzel. And Snow White? Humf. A pox upon her – or at least a sunburn.
Seems Stephen Sondheim understands our warped desire that the most beautiful and luckiest amongst us don’t get a happily ever after that's any better than our own.
His Tony Award-winning musical (with book by James Lapine), “Into the Woods,” drafts new pages after “the end” – in lovely cursive – and finishes the fairy tale. Newtown Arts Company's production of “Into the Woods” will bring the story alive locally.
The play opens Thursday at the Newtown Theatre and runs through April 25.
Mary Liz Ivins is the director and a Sondheim admirer. The composer and lyricist has local ties; he's a 1946 George School graduate. “Sondheim is a brilliant writer,” Ivins said. “All his pieces reflect on human nature.”
That same human nature is what twists our wishes a wee bit sour at times. Oh, sure, we want Sleeping Beauty to wake up; we just want her satin pillow to have a small drool stain on it. That’s all. Sondheim and Lapine get it.
“Into the Woods” looks behind the curtain after it falls to see the story continued.
“Prince Charming finds the chase is more fun than the capture,” Ivins said. “We can see our own human weaknesses. How clever this piece is to get people to think about human nature.”
Although such introspection is more often an adult activity, Ivins said a 10-year-old would also glean satisfaction from the performance, even if a youngster couldn’t catch all the nuances. A blood-thirsty Little Red Riding Hood? A witch who raps? What’s not to enjoy about that at any age?
Ivins is confident that will be the case for the Newtown Arts Company production. That assurance is due to her cast, she said, adding there was a wonderful turnout for auditions.
“This cast is excellent. We spent the whole first month on the music,” she said. “And they’ve mastered it. You need that quality of performers to do this. Sondheim’s rhythms are brilliant, but some would call them terrifying. He uses discordant notes and rhythms to make a point.”
Joining Ivins is Susan den Outer as musical director. There will be live music accompanying each performance.
Performances of “Into the Woods” run for one week only. Curtain times are Thursday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $20, $23 and $35.
For tickets and more information, go to www.newtownartscompany.com.