SU Drama takes season-ending journey ‘Into the Woods’
The Syracuse University Drama Department will conclude the 2002-2003 season with Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s fairy tale musical “Into the Woods.” Directed by Marie Kemp, the show runs in the Storch Theater through May 10. “Into the Woods” unites familiar fairy tales with an original story to explore these legends through a contemporary lens, revealing the frightening consequences of “happily ever after.”
The action revolves around a childless baker and his wife who have been cursed by an evil witch. On their journey into the woods to find the ingredients for the spell that will lift the curse and allow them to live happily ever after, the couple encounters Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Jack the soon-to-be giant killer, and Rapunzel and her prince. With the help of these characters, the baker and his wife find all the ingredients; the spell is lifted and everyone foresees a joyous future of “happily ever after.”
However, vengeance and desire loom in the unforgiving forest, and the play takes a drastic turn toward the dark side of the human psyche, exploring what happens after “happily ever after.”
“While the first act is fun and lighthearted, the second act becomes much darker as the characters are confronted with the consequences of their actions,” Kemp says. “The drastic contrast between the two acts is startling.” Due to the darker context of the second act, the production is recommended for children in middle school and up.
Boasting a talented student cast of both musical theater and drama majors, the show features junior musical theater major Richard Ugino as the Baker and senior musical theater major Emily Mattheson as the Baker’s Wife. Cast in the role of the Witch is senior musical theater major Kristin Hoesl and senior acting major Chris Rummel will play the Narrator. Unique to this production, the narrator will not tell the story directly to the audience, but to an original character created by Kemp – a child, played by 8-year-old Zoe Guttendorf. “The narrator tells the story to the child as a dad would tell a story to his daughter,” Kemp sats. “The audience sees through the child’s eyes. What appears on stage is what appears in the child’s imagination as her father tells her the story.”
Members of the fairy tale cast are: sophomore Caitlin Thurnaver (Little Red Riding Hood), sophomore Michael Penna (the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince), senior Marissa McGowan (Cinderella), sophomore Jaimie Salkovitch (Florinda), sophomore Erin Zaruba (Lucinda), sophomore Jill Samuel (Cinderella’s Stepmother), junior Noah Aberlin (Cinderella’s Father), junior Katie Zaffrann (Granny, Cinderella’s Mother and the Giant), junior Matte O’Brien (Jack), senior Danika Wood (Jack’s Mother), sophomore Kristi Williamson (Jack’s cow), junior Lauren Haughton (Rapunzel), senior Richard Payton (Rapunzel’s Prince), sophomore Nick Nerio (the Steward), and junior Heidi Marie Lembke (Chocolate Milky).
The show’s musical director is Mary Sugar and choreographer is Jordan Bass. Sugar’s previous experience includes associate musical director and pianist for Syracuse Stage’s productions of “West Side Story,” “Peter Pan,” and “A Christmas Carol” and musical director for SU Drama’s production of “The Music Man.” Sugar also spent 11 years as a musical director, pianist, and teacher in New York City where she worked both on and off-Broadway. Bass, a senior musical theater major from Livingston, N.J., has previously served as dance captain for “West Side Story” and “Man of La Mancha.”
Costume designer Felix Cochren has created individual costumes specific to the time and place of each fairy tale. Set designer is senior Meryn Daly, sound designer is senior Scott Selman and lighting designer is Alexander Koziara.
Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students and senior citizens. “Pay What You Can” night is April 30 for SU I.D. holders. Students enrolled in the Arts Adventure Program may purchase tickets at the Shine Center Box Office. For tickets or more information contact the Drama Department Box Office at 443-3275 or visit http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.