“Into the Woods” opens at Swarthmore

Chances are either you or someone you know has just survived a long week of dress rehearsals for “Into the Woods.” As described in the program by director Phil Katz ’07, “Into the Woods” is, “the culmination of three years of explosive growth for the Drama Board.” The show has brought together diverse talents from dedicated students on stage, in the pit, behind the light board, and in costume and set design. Last night the cast and crew presented a virtually flawless opening night, but three more performances are go up this weekend if you missed it.

Memorable performances include (but are in no way limited to) Alicia Lemke ’09’s beautiful voice in the role of Cinderella. Audience members will also not want to miss G. Patrick ’10’s command of the evil wiles of the Big Bad Wolf. Lauren Ianuzzi ’07 portrays a convincing and, in the end, both human and evil witch. The greatest compliment is given by Jamie Birney ’10 in the role of the baker: “I don’t like that woman.” Ryan Shevin ’10 in the role of Jack (of beanstalk fame) describe the show as, “simple at first in its retelling of familiar tales, but there’s a lot of nuance and beauty that reveals itself the more you examine it.” The enthusiasm of the cast was expressed by Cinderella’s stepmother, Jean Strout ’10, after the show; “It’s f’ing fun to be evil!”

The support from the pit was unfailing. Sondheim’s scores are known for their use of dissonance in the musical theater genre, and the musicians performed every song skillfully. Particular compliments go to Dan Perelstein ’09, both musical director and conductor. Difficult musical cues were not missed even during the uncooperative death of a milky-white cow at the hands of narrator Randall Johnston ’09 (you’ll need to see it to understand). The set changes and stage tech were both seamless and professional. The costuming and set also reflected the ambitious size of the production. The two worked together to present a motivic use of color, emphasizing the meshing of several familiar fairy tales in the story line.

And don’t worry if you missed opening night! There will be additional performances today and Saturday at 7 pm, as well as Sunday at noon. Come see what happens to your favorite childhood characters once ?happily ever after? arrives in only the first act.

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