Entertainment Magazine


February 12,  2011

  Arts & Reviews Home


  Broadway Shows

  Theater Companies

  Opera Companies

  Choral Groups

  Instrumental Groups

  Dance Companies

  Index of Links



Sign up  for The Maestro Arts & Reviews Newsletter.  Discounted tickets and more. 




The source for new and emerging authors.


Creative Artist's Network 

Job 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.
Combining 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 country.

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.



Return to Arts & Reviews Main Page


Maestro Arts & Reviews

Copyright © 2011 [The Maestro Company]. All rights reserved.
Revised: November 10, 2008 .

For questions regarding this site, contact webmaster@maestro.ws