New Village Arts Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season with Steven Sondheim's Into the Woods

The Co-Production with Oceanside Theatre Company Gives the Classic a 21st Century Look

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardasht

The Cast of Into the Woods Photo: Almar Ahad

In 2012, New Village Arts included Into the Woods in their 10th anniversary season. Now for the 20th, they brought back the classic that debuted in San Diego during the 80s, as a co-production with Oceanside Theatre Company.

The musical classic with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by James Lapine, involves several well-known fairytale characters like Cinderella (Megan Carmitchel), Jack (Kevin Phan) and the beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood (Jasmine January), and Rapunzel (Brittany Carrillo) adding a baker (Luke Monday) and his wife (Sydney Joyner) who are struggling to have a baby because a witch (Rae Henderson-Gray) cursed them. There is a narrator (Layth Haddad in the performance I saw) who takes audiences through the plot where these characters have well-known storylines and in this piece, they are all intertwined and it is the unknown couple that leads the thread as the witch in order to undo the curse, has asked for a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. The story continues to be relevant as each character crosses paths with the next looking for personal gain. Nothing good can come out of these selfish ways so, when things get tragic, then what happens?

The Cast of Into the Woods Photo: Almar Ahad

The young cast is vibrant and popping with amazing vocals, giving the piece a fresh feel. Other cast members include Lauren Ashley as Jack’s Mother and Red's Granny, Tanner Vydos as Cinderella’s Prince and the mean Wolf, and in this performance, Jac Mannion as the Steward who reminds me of a young Tom Felton.

Keira McGee also adds a modern touch with her hip costume design. I especially admired Kevin Phan's look as both Jack with blue hair and Rapunzel's prince with pink hair and a hot pink suit, just amazing. The other hot outfit was the evil witch once she recovers her youth in an iridescent-Esque suite. Christopher Scott Murillo made the most out of the small space with a set design that had a second story in each corner to accommodate both Rapunzel's tower and the witch's watching place. 

Kevin Phan as Rapunzel's prince and Tanner Vydos as Cinderella’s Prince. Photo: Almar Ahad
This production is alive and showcases great ensemble work directed by Kristianne Kurner. The rest of the creative team includes Music Director, Leigh Anne Sutherlin, Choreography by Alyssa “Ajay” Junious, Stage Manager Myles Vencill, Wig Designer Missy Bradstreet, Sound Designer Evan Eason, Properties Designer Elaine Henderson-Gray, Lighting Designer Beckett Zittlau-Johnson and, Assistant Scenic Design Alondra Velez. 

Into the Woods is currently playing until May 1. For ticket prices and performance times please click here.

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