SHOWING : June 07, 2008 - June 15, 2008
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
Sunday, June 8, 2008 ||
Hey Guys, |
I'm just here to review the Saturday, June 7th performance of "Into the Woods."
First off upon arriving at the theatre, I loved the very artistic feel of the lobby. With the actual ticket booth, and the entrances on either side of the ticket booth. Awesome, just a great way to start the night.
Upon entering the theatre I was awe-struck at how beautiful the theatre was, it was the most magnificent place ever to see Into the Woods, and I truly felt as though I was stepping into a story book.
SET: 4.0 The set for this production was very cool indeed, and I LOVED it. From the moment you step into the theatre you can immediately differentiate the three different locations. I love the picture of the stepmother with the raised eye-brow very cute. I also enjoyed the intricate details of the Baker's cottage.
(My only down-fall to the set at the beginning was that after the doors open it appeared as though the set had not been completely set-up, and a young girl brought a rag out and hung it on a shelf in the Bakery.)
When the curtain opened during the prologue I immediately fell in love with the real tree branches draped and hung across the back of the stage, it was a very cool effect. I enjoyed the inspiration from the Original Broadway Production for the slanted stage.
One set piece I found I didn't like was Rapunzel's tower. It looked very bland compared to the real branches and the slanted set. Just kind of boring.
SOUND: 1.0 There isn't much I can say in this category seeing as only Cinderella (Stephanie Earle), Baker (Robbie Kirkland), Baker's Wife (Alison Chambers), Little Red Riding Hood (Paige McCauley), and Narrator/Mysterious Man (Frankie Asher) were using microphones.
Although the acoustics in the building were great, I felt as though the sound crew could have worked a little harder for such scenes as when Cinderella's Mother (Pauli Reep) is singing while sitting as far back as possible from the edge of the stage. I sat very close to the front and still had problems hearing her though.
The pros of the mics were that there were no mic mishaps. No screeches or anything of such nature which made for an easy and enjoyable production.
LIGHTS: 3.5 The lights were fairly average fort this show. I loved the fact that each little curtain set had its own individual light. I would've loved more for each curtain set's lights to come on when they were suppose to. It was a neat concept, but it got very confusing when the lights weren't on during some of the lines. This became especially difficult over music.
LIke I said, though, when the light cues were right, they were spectacular. I also really enjoyed the lights during Baker's Wife (Alison Chambers) death. They were beautiful.
COSTUMES: 4.0 All the costumes in the show were beautifully put together, and/or made. The only two costumes I had a slight problem with were Cinderella's Prince (Michael Reep) and Rapunzel's Prince (Alex Couch). For starters, the entire production Michael Reep was wearing two pairs of pants, and you could see the belt holding both of them up. I don't know if this was because one pair of pants was too big, but I was a little annoyed at the sight of two belt buckles. My favorite costume of the entire show would have to be Rapunzel's (Anna Kate Spears). She wore an almost blue velvet straight gown, and it fit her like a glove and it was worn beautifully. Way to go to the costume team behind this production.
NARRATOR/MYSTERIOUS MAN (FRANKIE ASHER):
Mr. Frankie Asher made very solid character decisions when playing both the Narrator and the Mysterious Man. I loved that at first I didn't even notice it was him. Once I noticed though, it didn't bother me because the character difference was enormous. Mr. Asher commands attention when onstage, and I loved the fact that the Narrator was not played very old like it normally is. I loved the Narrator as young and spunky, and Mr. Asher pulled it off greatly.
WITCH (AMY BEAUCHAM):
Ms. Amy Beaucham gave a solid performance as the Witch. I loved her cackle it was truly witch-like. Also, "Children Will Listen" was one of the best numbers of the night. If I could change one thing about Ms. Beaucham's performance it would be that she didn't try to get laughs. I would have like to have seen her play for sincerity. Although, most of her jokes were very hilarious, I wished that she would have said her lines sincerely. And that is the way you truly get across the jokes in this show.
BAKER'S WIFE (ALISON CHAMBERS):
One of the best performers of the night. Her death scene was chilling. And man she can scream. I loved the fact that Ms. Chambers did not try and play Joanna Gleason, and she created her own character. Ms. Chambers has a beautiful voice that carries off such numbers, and with her new take on the role it became a very original performance.
CINDERELLA'S FATHER (ANDY CHAMBERS):
There is not a whole lot to say about this performance. He's not onstage much, but when he was he had some funny lines. I think, though, that Mr. Chambers does not have a desire to be onstage because in all the group numbers he did not know his words and appeared to mumbling "mama, mama, mama, mama." Was that just me? I am not sure.
GRANNY (JEANNE CHAMBERS);
Granny has to be one of the funniest cameos in this show. I was very pleased to see Ms. Jeanne pop out from up underneath the bed, and she was very funny. I just wished there had been a little more over-the-top acting from her. I liked the direction she was taking with the character, but I just wish she had gone a little further. Also, as like her husband she did not know the words to the songs. In particular she did not know "Ever After."
RAPUNZEL'S PRINCE (ALEX COUCH):
Mr. Couch has a beautiful voice, and played the Prince very well in this production. He played the role very suave, but I never felt a real connection with Rapunzel. And the line "Rapunzel . . . Rapunzel . . . What a strange name." Was a little lost, but none-the-less Mr. Couch gave a solid performance, and he and Cinderella's Prince (Michael Reep) gave a very funny rendition of Agony in which they both received laughs, and earned themselves one of the best numbers in the show.
FLORINDA (APRIL COYNE):
Although a very small part, Ms. Coyne did not let her lack of stage time be wasted. She made very good use of the time she had onstage, interacting with her onstage mother (Courtney Giebler) and sister (Hannah Herndon). She held her own the harmonies very well, but I wish I could have heard her, but this could be partial to the mic situation. That's beside the point, though, her part was very funny, and my favorite line from her character has to be "We're not that miserable," and the actions that follow. Great job!
SNOW WHITE (RACHEL MARIE DENNY):
There is truly nothing I can say about this part, except that I would never want to play it. Ms. Denny, whom I have seen perform before and she is magnificent, had "(Yawn.) Excuse me." for her stage time, and then she got to be in "Children Will Listen." Has nothing to do with the her, but I've never been a fan of this part or Sleeping Beauty (Melissa Manson) for that part. It has got to be the most boring part I've ever seen onstage.
CINDERELLA (STEPHANIE EARLE):
Ms. Stephanie Earle had to be one of the best performances of the night. Her "No One is Alone" is truly heart-breaking. One of my favorite scenes from the production is the scene in which she decides to leave her husband (Michael Reep). You truly felt her pain and hurt from what he has done to her, leaving her for another maiden. Her acting was beautiful and she played one of the best Cinderella's I've ever seen, and I could not see anyone else in the roll. Ms. Earle has a beautiful instrument for a voice, but I believe that this part was just a little too high for her. She hit all the notes and they sounded good, but I just wish the tone quality had been a little better. But all that aside, you could get over the fact that her tone quality was perfect for the fact that she played a role well beyond her years, and did it beautifully. Kudos Stephanie Earle.
CINDERELLA'S STEPMOTHER (COURTNEY GIEBLER):
Ms. Giebler was one of the very strong supporting roles in the show, and she played it splendidly. Ms. Giebler has got a beautiful voice with a very rich a soprano tone, and the scene in which she is trying to get her daughters off with the prince, cracked me up, and made me fall in love with her voice. She played Mother to her two daughters very well, but I wish she had been casted a little older because it almost seemed as though she was an older sister more than a mother. But, my favorite set piece in the entire show has got to be the giant picture of her face with the raised eyebrow. Priceless.
LUCINDA (HANNAH HERNDON):
Ms. Herndon has got a great voice, and I missed not truly being able to hear her work it out in this production. As with Ms. Coyne and Ms. Giebler she took her lack of stage time and made it work. She held her own on the harmonies as well, but I still wish I could have heard her, but once again, due to the mic situation that could be lived without. A very solid and hilarious performances from Ms. Herndon once again. Can't wait to see her in the future.
BAKER (ROBBIE KIRKLAND):
Balancing a lead role with a directing position is never easy. I've learned from experience, but Mr. Kirkland played the Baker very well. Not my favorite Baker, but I liked him none-the-less. I was partial more to his acting, than his voice, but that was how I was with almost everyone in the show. Even though, I preferred his acting, his rendition of "No More" was very good, and his tone was much better in that song. I almost felt as if I was watching a different performer in that number. His onstage chemistry with fellows stars Alison Chambers and Stephanie Earle was impeccable and I could not have asked for a better ensemble of performing. Mr. Kirkland's direction however was very beautiful. With the intricate setting, and different staging, one could tell Mr. Kirkland thought this out very much. There were a lot of abstract parts, but this is just one other thing that made the production so great to watch. Great job, Robbie.
SLEEPING BEAUTY (MELISSA MANSON):
Read my above comments on Snow White.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (PAIGE MCCAULEY):
One of the best actresses for her age, Ms. McCauley did not play Little Red from the Bernadette Peters movie. It toke quite a while to get use to her new take on the character, but once I did I truly loved it and it was very enjoyable to watch. Her facial expressions are priceless, and she the voice of an angel. Her harmonies with Ms. Earle in "No One is Alone" were some of the best of the night. Ms. McCauley is going places so look out for her.
WOLF/STEWARD (BEN PAPAC):
Mr. Ben Papac has to be winner of the most improved award. I saw Mr. Papac in his earlier stages of performing, and if you were to tell me that he would be playing the wolf in "Into the Woods" just over a year after he started I would have laughed at you in your face. But I was very please with Mr. Papac rendition of "Hello, Little Girl" it was a great and enjoyable number, enhanced more by Ms. McCauley's expressions. I also enjoyed very much his performance as the Steward. It's not much of a part, but he played it very funny as should be played.
GIANT (ANGELA PAPAC):
Being a voice that is only in the second Act, and being just a voice off-stage Ms. Papac played this role very well, and I enjoyed listening to her banter of Jack. It was very funny, and she played the voice of this character very well. Go Ms. Papac!
JACK'S MOTHER (DOROTHY RAMSDELL):
Ms. Ramsdell gave a very convincing performance as Jack's Mother, and her death was truly heart-breaking. I enjoyed her performance, but wished she had been a little less squirly. I mean, that's just an opinion though. I was very pleased with how well her voice fit the part. She sang such songs as the "Prologue" and "Happily Ever After" very beautifully, and you can tell she really controlled Mr. Thomaston.
CINDERELLA'S PRINCE (MICHAEL REEP):
Mr. Reep has got to be one of the most mature actors for his age. Having played such parts as Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast" you would expect to find Cinderella's Prince on his resume, and low and behold you will. Mr. Reep is very funny, and has come very professional comedic timing which just added to his already comedic performance. A really good casting decision was casting him opposite Ms. Earle. He and Ms. Earle have such onstage chemistry it's unreal. Great job Michael on yet another nailed performance.
CINDERELLA'S MOTHER (PAULI REEP):
With very small stage time, Ms. Reep made the most of it. Singing with her beautiful voice you felt the connection between she and Ms. Earle. That's pretty much all I can say of this performance. Ms. Reep's part was very tiny and she spent her time up in a tree, so great job on singing your heart out Ms. Reep.
RAPUNZEL (ANNA KATE SPEARS):
Just let me say this first, Anna Kate Spears can scream. Oh my gosh, the first time she really screams in the show you will jump up in your seat. It's a truly spine curling scream, and her costume looked beautiful on her. Her only vocal line in the show was sung very beautifully, when sung over music. However, when Ms. Spears was not accompanied by music, she was just slightly sharp of the pitch, but this is nothing that anyone will notice unless they truly know music. Ms Spears has shown that she can sing and act, and I can't wait to see more of her in the future.
JACK (CHASE THOMASTON):
Mr. Thomaston is a great actor, and he played the role of Jack very well. I was a little upset that they decided to take the revival direction and casting a younger Jack. I've always loved the original approach of having an adult play Jack, and have him treated like a child, but that's all in preference. Mr. Thomaston is very funny and his stage time with Ms. McCauley was some of the best spent time onstage. "Giants in the Sky" possibly one of the best known songs in the show was sung well, but I had wished his voice was a little higher to hang on to some of those higher notes, and the last not could have been held out longer.
FINALE NOTES ON THE CAST: 4.0
The cast was assembled very well and each character played off each other well. The voices were really great, and they blended well with the occasional missed harmony, but no big I mean come on it's Sondheim. Hardly anyone ever gets it perfect.
Thanks so much Twilight Theatre for doing what a show is meant to do, ENTERTAIN. And I will say I was thoroughly entertained by this production of "Into the Woods." If you have time, please go and see this show. It's 3 hours not wasted.
Just for they record my rating of this is based entirely on the numbers given as we went along.
Bye [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
| || Unfortunately by FranklySpeaking|
| I am one who comes to see many of their shows and have to say that, even though Alison Chambers is a good singer, I am a bit tired of her always being cast in the top roles of every show. It seems a bit rigged, if you will, when the Artistic Director happens to always be cast in the top spots. If you're going to run a theatre, then step aside every once in a while and let other talent in. It's becoming quite obvious that there is too much of a clique going on.|
| || On the contrary... by DramaticFanatic|
| I know for a fact that Ms. Chambers has auditioned for every role she has ever received with the exception of this show and one troupe show that was pre-cast. In the case of this show, she was only supposed to be the music director, but when no one auditioned for the role of the Baker's Wife, she was asked to step into it. It was not a part she wanted or asked for, and knowing her and her range, it certainly wouldn't have been the one she would have chosen for herself in this show. I would have loved to have heard her in Cinderella's part or even singing Rapunzel's trills. Either role would have been much more suited for her voice. |
I've been fortunate to work with Ms. Chambers, both as a fellow actor and under her direction. She has earned every role that I have seen her in, and her resume outside of Twilight is extensive and impressive. Frankly, I'm surprised she's not doing productions up in Atlanta or even regional.
As for Twilight, I've worked with many theatres on the Southside, Atlanta, regional, etc., and I think the world of Twilight. I was one of the originals - a cast member in their first show - and have watched them grow. Every theatre (especially community theatre, which is all volunteer) has its inner circle - the few people who do the majority of the work -, but Twilight is far from the political organizations masking as theatres that I've worked with elsewhere.
| || Oops.... by DramaticFanatic|
| I should have mentioned that I am not a cast member of "Into the Woods" or a parent of a cast member. I'm not affiliated with the show in any way, although I was in the audience the other night. When I have a little more time, I'll write a review. |
| || Understand, but... by FranklySpeaking|
| The truth still remains. She seems to always be cast in leading roles of, virtually, every show she has been in. This one is a prime example of that. The director happens to also be cast in a leading role along with Ms. Chambers. This doesn't strike you as a bit odd? My point is, if she is going to be running this organization, then she needs to run it and move aside from time to time and stop hogging the parts. When the director is also casting himself in a lead role, then it raises questions about who is really earning their parts at this theatre. It makes me wonder if all of the auditions you say she attended weren't showboating just to make it look legit.|
| || Out of curiousity by DramaticFanatic|
| are you someone who wasn't cast in this show or a parent of someone who wasn't cast in this show? Just wondering if you had any direct involvement in the show. If you saw it, you might also take the time to write a review. |
No it doesn't strike me as odd that Ms. Chambers has had prominent roles because virtually every show I have seen Ms. Chambers in over the years, with a few exceptions, she has had a prominent role in, including all of the shows she has done with other theatres. Also, having seen her resume, she has had lead roles in many other theatres, including ones in Florida and Georgia as well, so I hardly think she is simply showboating at every audition she goes to.
I can't speak for the Twilight directors, but I would imagine you could contact them if this is something you're truly concerned about. I do know that a lot of auditions for the first few shows Twilight did had a poor adult turnout, so that might have contributed as well. I couldn't imagine a 12 year old playing Maria in Sound of Music or Oklahoma.
A lot of theatres I have worked with have a lot of repeat actors. The Shakespeare Tavern, one group I was honored to work with, is a prime example. You see many of the same people getting the prominent roles and rightfully so because they are very talented. On the Southside, you also see a lot of familiar faces at Southside and Coweta Family Theater.
At any rate, when I spoke with Ms. Chambers after Into the Woods, she told me that she was looking forward to a break, planning on auditioning for shows elsewhere and concentrating on recording an album and preparing for some solo work she will be doing, so I doubt you will see her on the Twilight stage for awhile, just directing a show here and there.
As for Mr. Kirkland, I do not know him as well, so I cannot speak for him. I was told that no one auditioned for the Baker either and that there was a heavy turnout of younger people (under 16) at auditions and very few adults. As is the way of theater, very few males also
Personally, while I did not feel this was Twilight's best production, I really enjoyed the show. I was very impressed with how some of the children who have appeared in former Twilight productions have improved as they have aged. Ms. McCauley was superb. The person who played Jack, a newcomer, was also very good. Mr. Papac as the Wolf and Ms. Spears as Rapunzel were both huge improvements from what I have seen them do before. Not that they were not good in anything I've seen, but their performances were very impressive. Mr. Asher as the Narrator and Mysterious Man held the show together and had very good comedic timing - another new face at Twilight and seemingly quite the character. Hope to see more of him. As usual, I was impressed with Ms. Chambers. Frankly, I didn't think she would be able to pull of the part of the Baker's Wife vocally (acting, yes, but vocally she is a high soprano), but was blown away. As the reviewer said, her death scene was chilling. I also liked the chemistry between the final 4 of Jack, Red, Baker, and Cinderella and the blend between the princes was gorgeous. Both princes were great. Cinderella's voice was beautiful - a little thin on higher notes, which is not what I'm used to in Cinderellas - but her acting was incredible. When Ms. Earle is on stage, you can't take your eyes off of her. Overall, with the exception of Ms. Chambers, Mr. Kirkland, and a few others, this was a very young cast (I would guess a median age of 14 or 15, but am not sure), and I was amazed at the talent. These kids are going places. It was also nice to see so many families involved together. A lot of the older characters were parents of some of the younger ones, and they were very good also. Other than sound issues and your everyday expected problems here and there, I thought it was a great show.
| || Oops again by DramaticFanatic|
| Meant to say "Florida and North Carolina". That's what I get for trying to juggle work and writing at the same time. |
Also left out Ms. Beacham as the Witch, which is horrible. Don't know how I could leave her out. She was amazing in this part. Also a different take on the role. Very humorous but also very emotional in the right parts. I loved "Stay with Me" and the song in Act 2 after Rapunzel dies. Beautiful and heartbreaking
| || Two pairs of pants on Cinderella's Prince?? by MusicalGal|
| That's a funny comment....why would anyone wear two pair of pants unless they were trying to be comical? Anyway, to end your confusion, one belt was to hold up his pants, the other was for his sword. |
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
by David Shire (music), Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics)