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Into the Woods A Terrific Trip At Lyric Stage

Sondheim's Musical Walk On the Fairy Tale Wild Side

By: Mark Favermann - 05/13/2014

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The Cast of LyricStage’s Into theWoods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Photos by Mark S. Howard
The Cast of LyricStage’s Into theWoods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Photos by Mark S. Howard
The Cast
The Cast
Maurice with Maureen, Elise, Erica, Christina. Photo by Mark S. Howard
Maurice with Maureen, Elise, Erica, Christina. Photo by Mark S. Howard
Maritza Bostic, Maurice Emmanuel Parent. Photo by Mark S. Howard.
Maritza Bostic, Maurice Emmanuel Parent. Photo by Mark S. Howard.
John Ambrosino, Lisa Yuen, Gregory Balla.
John Ambrosino, Lisa Yuen, Gregory Balla.
Aimee Doherty as the Witch
Aimee Doherty as the Witch
Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos
Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim

Into the Woods
Music and Lyrics By Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Cast: Witch (Aimee Doherty), Baker ( John Ambrosino), Baker's Wife ( Lisa Yuen), Cinderella ( Erica Spyres), Narrator/Mysterious Man (Will McGarrahan), Jack (Gregory Balla), Jack’s Mother (Beth Gotha), Cinderella’s Stepmother (Maureen Keiller), Her stepsisters Florinda (Christina English) and Lucinda (Elise Arsenault), Their Father (Arthur Waldstein), The Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince (Maurice Emmanuel Parent), Granny/Cinderella’s Mother (Teresa Winner Blume), Rapunzel (Amanda Spinella), Rapunzel’s Prince (Sam Simahk), the Steward (Jeff Mahoney) and Little Red Ridinghood (Maritza Bostic)
Creative Crew:Music director, Catherine Stornetta; Set, David Towlun; Costumes, Elisabetta Polito; Lights, Scott Clyve; Sound, Andrew Duncan Will; Projections, Johnathan Carr.
May 10-June 1
Approximately 2 hours long with a 15 minute intermission
At the LyricStage Company of Boston617-585-5678.http://www.lyricstage.com

With a spirited cast, wonderful voices, elegantly directed and Stephen Sondheim's deft touch, there is a spectacular production of Into the Woods now playing at the LyricStage Company.
 
It is at once beautiful to see, terrific to hear and lovely to immerse yourself in as a fantasy trip into dark and not so dark places in life's journey.
 
Though this production is based upon childhood literature, the musical's interpretation appeals to all ages. What makes it so much more than a fairy tale retelling is that Into the Woods is a metaphor for life's experiences and memories.
 
Opening to great expectations in 1987 on Broadway, Into the Woods ran for two years. It was revived in 2002 for another 9 month run. Now it is a staple of quality regional theatre in America. It has the melodious charm of Stephen Sondheim's masterful music and lyrics based on the quirky fairy tale interpretations of James Lapine's book.
 
The oh-so familiar stories of Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Baker and His Wife and Rapunzel are all very cleverly narratively and musically intertwined. Suspension of disbelief is further enhanced by our youthful memories. The Sondheim score sweetens the sometimes folklore violence and destruction. Here melody joyously supersedes the metaphorical message.
 
Spiro Veloudos' excellent direction orchestrates the many threads of interwoven stories of desire, magic, need, disillusionment, love, parenthood, greed, adultery, murder, sorrow and rejection seasoned with fairy dust and human foibles as well as occasional triumphs. This could be one of Veloudos' best directing efforts.
 
The whole ensemble is talented. Of particular note and with wonderful voices were Aimee Doherty's passionate Witch, John Ambrosino's earnest Baker, Lisa Yuen's emotive Baker's Wife, Erica Spyres' operatic Cinderella, Gregory Balla's Jack and an energetic and effervescent Little Red Ridinghood by Maritza Bostic. 
 
With great flair and purposeful awkward sauciness, Cinderella’s wicked Stepmother (Maureen Keiller) and her mean stepsisters Christina English) and Elise Arsenault seemed to be having the most fun during the show. The delightful music is a strong cast member as well.
 
With a magnificent multicolored transforming backdrop, the show's stagecraft is wonderful. The staging is very minimal which in turn adds to our imagination. Set designer David Towlun has worked hand and glove with Lighting designer Scott Clyve and Projections designer Jonathan Carr to create a spatially disenchanted forest. 
 
The costumes by Elisabetta Polito are quite wonderful and impressively very Hunger Games for Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters.
 
Into the Woods is a delightful journey to a past perfect memory of our childhood as interpreted through our adult perceptions colored by not so always perfect or even good personal experiences. To get through the forest, the steps we must take are both simple yet sophisticated as well as wonderfully melodious.
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