Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Into the Woods

Lakewood Theatre
May 8 - June 14, 2009


Once upon a time, a Baker and his Wife journey into the woods on a quest to lift a witch's curse. On the way they cross paths with Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and a menagerie of other fairy tale characters to reveal what happens after "happily ever after."


Anonymous said...

I thought this show was pretty competent. I have been in this show, and have seen several productions, so I feel pretty confident when I see a good production. Many times, this show is not managed well, and the music is a mess. Not in this case. The orchestra fantastic, even if I personally felt that the tempos lagged in certain parts. The singing was fabulous, specifically in maybe one of the most heart wrenching "Stay With Me." Shawn Rogers was fantastic as the Baker, Erin Charles was also very good as the witch. I couldn't imagine the stress of having to play such a well known character, with such high expectations. She handled it very well, and didn't come across as a Bernadette Peters wannabe, as so many actresses do. I was excited to see Pam Mahon play the Bakers Wife, however, wasn't blown away, and actually was quite disappointed. That is one of the best roles in musical theatre, and has such potential, just look at the original. I felt that with such a goldmine of fantastic lines, that she just discarded them, but that doesn't take away from the fact that she is an excellent singer. Isaac Lamb was pretty funny as both the wolf and Cinderellas Prince, and he DID find the humor in his lines. The set was very good as well. It just felt like so much time was spent on the music (which is a good thing!), but not much time was spent really developing the characters, which is a shame. I would definitely recommend this production, and I think that as the run moves forward, that everything will improve. I'm just happy someone did this fantastic show again!

Anonymous said...

Although I agree with the previous comment that the music in this production was handled well, I have to disagree completely and say that this production of Into the Woods was nothing if not terribly uninspired. The tongue-in-cheek humor and the storytelling techniques employed by the writers to move the story along were reduced to base gags, static blocking choices and rudimentary choreography. The interpretation of the dialgoe by the actors and the directors did nothing to add to the story nor give the audience any insight into the company's view of the subject matter. The production values were not handled well. The audience was treated to a loud rolling 2-dimensional cardboard set that occassionally sported larger 3-dimensional pieces that even in fairy tale land were not believable. The lighting was less than adequate as for a good portion of the monologues, the spotlights left the actors in full shadow while brightly illuminating parts of the stage that were empty. I would have been happier if they had left all the lights on during the performance so I could actually see who was singing. And the costumes were as average as one can get for a typical production of Into the Woods. I am not saying that Lakewood needed to do a Broadway style fully realised production. But I am saying that as an audience member, I would like to see Lakewood's individual take on the piece and know why they chose to produce it. And that question should have been answered in the course of those 3 hours and it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Entire pacing of this production - was off - so many good actors cast - but it was just - not well done. Never was really able to be taken away -

The Witch is a belter role - no it doesnt have to be Bernedette - but the voice does have to have that weight - Erin Charles - not a belter. (Shes not good shes not bad shes just...nice.)

Costuming unimpressive, and what was with the CRYING BABY SOUND. Too distracting. I found myself chuckling when I shouldnt - WAH!

I loved Pam Mahon - such a class act - really was consistant when so much uneven-ness surrounded her- not an easy task. Shawn Rogers - Terrific. Jack and his mother - fabulous. Cinderella - really nice to watch - great performance from her. Jill Westerby - adorable funny - I thought at first she was gonna be a little too old - but she acted her way out of that box, for sure.

I just wonder about the decisions the director made. such a great show - but this one was so disappointing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster -
And what was with Teresa Lawrence's costume?!? She was terrific as Rapunzel - but why make her so dowdy in a dress huge for her? - she looked ridiculous.

Loved the step sisters and mom -

Witch needed to be ........more. Just more.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

site manager: please remove the last post.
it is embarassing to the human race.

Anonymous said...

When you walk out of a theatre having spent a couple of hours at a show, ideally you feel renewed, with a fresh excitement about the world.
This is not one of those cases.
In fact, you want to forget it as soon as possible.
And, no, I did not audition for this show.

The bad:
The drum machine
The dog sized cow
The wig that upstages the witch

The nit-picky but still bad:
The drapes are so well lit by light spill, it becomes a show about the drapes.
Crino's accent various from French to Italian, German, Russian, Yiddish and even Danish.
But given his formidable talent, this must have been a choice.
The shoes of the 3 step-sisters do not match their gowns.
It seems as though one of the men is singing in a key not ideal for him.

The shocking:
The bio lists no directing credits for the director at all.

Apparently at the time Sondheim wrote this, he was fresh out of ideas.

It is the first time in the history of attending Lakewood Theater that I have not seen the audience stand for the curtain call.

Anonymous said...

I went to see this show over the weekend and was excited based on the cast. I have to say I was truly dissapointed. Kudo's to Brian for stepping in as The Wolf/Prince! Jill, Erin and Pam were the standouts for me and without them I probably would have left the show at intermission. Bad sound, people stepping over lines and many MANY moments missed. Their is humor, sex, and scandal in this show people!!!

jim crino said...

Crino here - As to my accent, you're right! It was a choice by way of non-choice. I thought a defined accent would place me square in a country that did not relate to "happily ever after". Why insult one country when you can take a swing at a whole continent? The line "I was only thinking of the greater good" spoke to me as tutonic in theme but after that the objective seemed more important than the true accent. I had a wonderful professor in college who always referred to Disney's Sleeping Beauty as set in High Fairy Tale Gothic - a mismash of about a century and a half but one that never eally existed outside of that world. A pompus tone of middle managment indination was where I was going. Thank you for the compliment - I really was flattered that you made note of me at all.

Anonymous said...

I love this show. I love the way it is written. The music is inspiring, the story so true and honest. But this production was way off the mark. I didn't really feel much of anything walking out of the theatre.

You're supposed to see these characters as human, flawed individuals who see it as OK to cross lines to get what they want so badly. They should start out as these caricatures that we all know from our childhood but we slowly see them as we would see our friends, enemies, and family. We all know someone who may have gone too far for something they felt was right. We should see them as humans with needs, flaws, that make mistakes. What would you do in their place?

This show had no heart. There were some fine performances but no connections. For example, the baker's feelings seemed forced and he had no chemistry with his father.

This was maybe the actor's choice or perhaps the director's but it didn't work for me.

I wish it had been much better.

I have loved every other production I have seen(Except one in the park a few years back). I repeat 'productions I have seen'. I have been surprised by some of the choices but never disappointed until now. Perhaps I have just been lucky in the past.

I didn't realize this may have been the director's first time out. If so, then he has a long way to go. If not, then perhaps we shouldn't be corrected on that misconception.

Anonymous said...

Terrible show. Great cast. What a waste. No directorial substance whatsoever. How do you waste Isaac Lamb, Jill Westerby, Pam Mahon, among others? Seriously...ugh...DISAPPOINTING!!!

Paige Jones said...

I seem to rarely make It to musicals, so I was looking forward to finally seeing for myself the talents of this cast -- most of whom I'd never before seen on stage, but whose names I certainly was well acquainted with. It was such a pleasure to find an abundance of good voice and acting chops together on stage. What sells a musical for me is beautiful voices deftly communicating characters' journeys, and that's what I got. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding Drammies? Outstanding Production?! Of all the musicals in Portland?!?! I disagree. With all my effin' heart.


Really. WTF.

Im embarassed.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe you should be embarrassed because you are an adult (assuming) and you spelled "embarrassed" wrong, and you used "WTF". Just saying.

Ben van Diepen said...

Wow, for all the bad reviews, Into the Woods sure took home some pretty hefty Drammies. They must be doing something right! Congratulations to Isaac, Wade, Shawn, Alan, and the rest of the Woodsmen.

Don't lose the path

Anonymous said...

Marissa Neitling (sorry if that's a wrong spelling) was excellent as Cinderella. I hope to see her in much more around town - her voice is exquisite! I think everyone did the very best they could given the difficulty of the music and the second act book, and the "greenness" of a new director.