Arts and Entertainment

Theatre makes ‘make-believe’ believable | Ferry Home Companion

Howard Schonberger - Journal file photo
Howard Schonberger
— image credit: Journal file photo

Attending the opening of “Into the Woods” we were pleased to have reserved front row seats. Not only because we could see the beautiful costumes and made up faces better, but also because we could see both the orchestra pit artists and the two dozen principals in this great production.

It was a blast!

Small wonder that Stephen Sondheim received Broadway Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in 1988. What gets me is seeing any empty seats at this gigantic production staged and “choreographed” by Margaret Hall.

As one old enough to have seen the first use of a revolving stage at Geary theatre in San Francisco around 1942, starring Gertrude Lawrence and Noel Coward in “Lady in the Dark”, I can honestly say that the way our pros had their houses lifted into the sky, had giant trees being pushed around by giant Beanstalk poachers, and how Rapunzel and her hair came to life from her huge tower was just as breathtaking.

What you see in this play is a weaving of most of our fairy tales into a mixed agenda of peril and joy with a libretto of songs based on the fairytales of our childhood… not always with a happy ending for some, but understandable.

Jill Urbach is a convincing Witch, but becomes a beauty in this fast moving plot…her performance is amazingly scary.

Just giving you the cast and the parts they play will give you an idea of how difficult it is to move them on stage with such well choreographed speed. The Baker and wife, Scott Mapstead and Deb Langhans… Cinderella–Penelope Haskew… Cinderella’s stepmother, Trudy Loucks and sisters, Florinda and Lucinda–Bridget Booth and Skyler Moeder…Mother and Tipsy Father–Maggie Gallivan and; Bert Dayton.

Outstanding switch hitters besides Urbach were Doug Schirmer as Cinderella’s Prince, as well as the Big Bad Wolf, and Pammy Gillette as Granny and Giantess.

Strong kudos, bravos and bravas also go to Jack (Nicholas Zervas) and his play mother (Patti Bair), Rapunzel (Raena Robertson), Rapunzel’s Prince (Tyler Strasser), Snow White (Elizabeth Schubert), Steward (Dana Rice) Stump Girl (Chiara Power) and Mysterious Man (Doug Rowan).

James Lapine wrote the book for Sondheim’s award winning musical comedy. It’s hard to imagine that our small island would have the talent to have explosions of stage smoke (mist) and even flocks of flying, singing birds to go with some songs.

Don’t miss it, gang. It’s a boffo hit, as they say in Billboard.

— Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)


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