Journal of the San Juan Islands


‘Into the Woods’, smashing success | Letters

May 8, 2013 · Updated 3:05 PM

I’m writing this letter in support of the Community Theatre and “Into the Woods”. But first let me back up.

Many of us came here not only for island scenery, but because we love the idea of local community. We’ve been able to set our “way-back machine” to another time where neighbors still know neighbors and an entire community turns out to support local events. This way of life is fast disappearing.

We came here knowing the tradeoffs. We don’t have the array of choices —restaurants, music, theater — offered by a big city. Nevertheless, these islands have enticed all kinds of gifted people willing to share their gifts. So we do, in fact, have some great restaurants, artists, writers, musicians, actors, and theater.

This past Saturday night I had the opportunity to see the production of Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” The storyline is a blending of five fairy tales that digs deeper into their heart with humor and compassion.

Some say that you don’t leave a Sondheim musical humming the tunes like you do after Richard Rogers. But Sondheim’s great comic song “Agony”, and the poignant “Children Will Listen” and “No One is Alone” rank up there with the best.

Very few amateur groups can take on Sondheim, and I’m delighted that our community possesses the talent necessary to pull off the ambitious musical score. With a professional-sounding orchestra to boot! Many performances I saw would not be out of place on the main stages of any big city.

Which brings me back to Saturday.

I was disappointed for my fellow islanders who put so much effort into this production, to see the theater half full. “Into the Woods” is a show about community. And community requires active participation. Think of it as a barn-raising. Everyone turns out.

Every year our theater productions get better and better. It takes an exceptional community to pull off a show like “Into the Woods.” It also takes a community to fill the seats.

Let’s build on what we have so that we don’t lose it. Let’s not forget why we came here, that we are a community who support one another to keep our dreams alive.

Please support your fellow islanders and go see “Into the Woods”!

James Gimlett, San Juan Island


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