February 12, 2011
& Reviews Home
Index of Links
for The Maestro Arts & Reviews Newsletter. Discounted
tickets and more.
source for new and emerging authors.
listings for composers, lyricists and writers.
T H E A
T E R R E V I E W - Into the Woods - BIOLA Conservatory of Music
Be careful what you wish...
it may come true.LA
MIRADA, CA - Cinderella, the Baker, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood
and the other characters in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, find out
that wishes are not always what they seem. However, BIOLA University Conservatory of Music's production of this popular musical is more than anyone could have wished for.
most of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, Into The Woods reimagines the
familiar characters and intermingles their stories to create one grand
fairytale with some surprising twists. Act 1 so neatly wraps up
everyone’s granted wishes that the play could very well end there but
not so fast! Complete chaos ensues in act 2 when the beloved characters
start to feel the repercussions of their fulfilled desires. Regardless
of initial intentions, the impact of getting what you want oftentimes
proves to be more than what you bargained for, and not in a good way.
Enchantment becomes catastrophe and the conflict that follows
illustrates to us just how important it is to honestly scrutinize our
hopes and dreams.
This Tony Award-winning musical by Stephen
Sondheim and James Lapine is not for the timid director or cast. It
demands more from the performers vocally as well as theatrically than
your average musical. BIOLA took on the challenge and hit it out
of the park!
The production was directed by Amick Byram, two-time Grammy Nonimee and singing voice of Moses in the 1998 Animated motion picture The Prince of Egypt. Amick has starred in many professional stage productions including Phantom of the Opera, (Broadway and LA), Les Miserables, in the roles of Marius and Enjolras, and Sunset Boulevard as Joe Gillis playing opposite Glenn Close. You may recognize him as Ian Troi, Counselor Troi’s father from Star Trek, The Next Generation.
(For all the trekkies out there, he even has trading cards.) He
has also directed and produced many large productions around the
Amick's creative touch was evident throughout the
production of Into the Woods, even before the show began. As the
audience was settling in their seats, the many of the lead characters
were already on stage, completely in character and even responded with
dismay as the "turn off your cell phone" announcement began. The
sets were effective and the costumes were stunning, from Cinderella's
beautiful ball gown to Little Red Riding Hood's wolf-skin cape.
Guest Director: Amick Byram
Every character in the
show is a lead and is pivotal to the unfolding of the plot. The
ensemble singing was phenomenal but each individual performer was quite
strong in both singing and acting. The Narrator/Mysterious Man was
played by Trevor Gomes whose comedic touches and facial expressions
were delightful. The Witch, played menacingly and beguilingly by
Danielle Evans has a voice that will knock your socks off. Arnold Geis
and Kristen Tucker played the Baker and his wife, and had a wonderful
chemistry that made their marriage, with its challenges, quite
convincing. Their duet, "It Takes Two," one of Sondheim's lyrically
brilliant songs, was one of the highlights of the show. Two
particularly amazing performers were Kelsey Upward as Little Red Riding
Hood and Tyler Wigglesworth as Jack who added a delightful touch of
comedy while still dazzling the audience with their dynamic voices.
They were individually strong, but also had a nice connection with each
other which is usually missed in most productions. Jack's mother, who
is at her wit's end with Jack, was played by Lauren Bartels who has a
wonderfully warm, mezzo voice. The two princes, played by Erik Holmlund
and Matthew Kellaway, were both charming and commanded the stage each
time they entered. Their duet "Agony" was a showstopper in both acts.
Cinderella was played by Emily Ballard and sang "On the Steps of the
Palace" with ease and grace. Her stepmother and stepsisters played by
Joanna Xu, Jessica Kremer and Tori Caplinger were quite funny and made
a delightful singing trio. One of the most interesting and deeply
complex characters is Rapunzel who was played by Rachel Hellerman. Even
though she sings her "light-hearted air" countless times, it was always
a pleasure to hear her light, clear soprano voice. Joseph Tatco-Nowak
and Daniel Martensen played Cinderella's father and the Steward, and
though not they had no solos, were always entertaining to watch each
time they came on stage. The Giant was played by Thea Lammers, and even
though she couldn't be seen, her commanding voice was perfect and was
effectively frightening. Mindy Schack and Michelle Tucker played
Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, and although only on stage for a few
moments, they made their presence known when they grab the ears of the
princes and drag them offstage.
The orchestra was conducted by
Marlin Owen and did an outstanding job playing this challenging score.
If you have never seen Into the Woods, BIOLA's production is the one to
watch. If you are a fan, then you will not be disappointed. This show
deserves a standing ovation. Bravo! Into the Woods plays February 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., Feb 13 at 2:00 p.m., Feb
17-19 at 7:30, and Feb 19 & 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased
online and should be bought right away as it will likely sell out.
to Arts & Reviews Main Page