Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Into the Woods" Earns Rave from T-D

The first critic has spoken, and declared Into the Woods to be a “MAGICAL” summer hit! Susan Haubenstock’s assessment appeared in Monday morning’s Times-Dispatch (April 18), and the review’s headline and sub-headline said it all: “Barksdale gets Ambitious, Scores” and “Work on Sondheim Classic is Dazzling in All of its Facets.”

Stephen Sondheim is almost universally recognized as the greatest Broadway composer and lyricist of the final third of the 20th Century. Described by Frank Rich in the The New York Times as "the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater," he is one of the few people to win an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards (seven, more that any other composer), multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. His most famous scores include (as composer/lyricist) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music (my favorite musical), Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods, as well as the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy (probably my second and third favorite musicals).

The stellar cast we have assembled for Into the Woods is second to none. “The performers are a true ensemble,” writes Haubenstock, “with Steve Perigard’s low-key baker and Rachel Abrams as his spunky wife perhaps at the center. Robyn O’Neill is vibrant as the witch, and Rita Markova makes a lovely Cinderella. Russell Rowland and Zak Resnick are both hilarious as lascivious wolves and roving-eyed princes; Ford Flannagan’s narrator reminds one of Joel Grey with his lightness and grace. Drew Seigla plays Jack (of beanstalk fame) as naive but lovable, and Jacqueline Jones is his brash, exasperated mother.”

“But the scene-stealer here is Audra Honaker as Little Red Riding Hood, who earns a laugh with every line and applause with every exit. The character is written funny, to be sure, but Honaker’s deadpan performance ratchets every gag up from chuckle to guffaw.” Haubenstock goes on to praise our brilliant director and choreographer (Robin Arthur), our music director (Jimmy Hicks) and our designers (set – Mercedes Schaum, costumes – Terry Snyder, and lights – Lynne Hartman). To those well deserved kudos, I’d like to add a special thanks to our indefatigable production crew, led by my greatly respected and invaluable colleagues: Bruce Rennie, Tech Director; Richard Koch, Production Manager; and Ginnie Willard, Production Stage Manager.

As Haubenstock suggests, Into the Woods is a hugely ambitious production for a theatre of our size. Phil and I feel privileged to be producing such a rewarding show, and to have the opportunity to work with such talented theatre artists.

For the full review of Into the Woods, go to: Richmond Times-Dispatch review

FOLLOWUP-Read another rave from, go to: review

To puchase tickets, call our Box Office today at 282-2620. I know you’ll enjoy this glorious production.

Special thanks to the Title Sponsor of Into the Woods, Village Bank, who helped make this production possible.

--Bruce Miller

No comments: