Home Hollywood Sara Bareilles Leads Stephen Sondheim Revival – The Hollywood Reporter

Sara Bareilles Leads Stephen Sondheim Revival – The Hollywood Reporter


Of all the classic musicals left by Stephen Sondheim, into the woods Perhaps better than any other place for a carefully crafted treatment, it piles up fairy-tale characters high and low, and its forest setting produces the same charisma and disillusionment. Recent New York productions have painstakingly created storybook settings with gorgeous scenery or clever props, while Rob Marshall’s star-studded 2014 film is a lavish fusion of Grimm and Disney aesthetics. But the 1987 show about the restless awakening after “Happy Ever After” was equally effective in a stripped-down presentation that emphasized the questioning revisionism of James Lapin’s lyrics and Sondheim’s.

Such is the case with Lear deBessonet’s gorgeous production, which begins with a half-stage concert at Encore! This spring’s series, now moving to Broadway for a limited 8-week run, includes top-of-the-line original cast members and glittering new members. into the woods Arguably the most humorous of the Sondheim shows, and this ensemble of some of New York’s finest musical theatre talents put on a dance for the comedy. But the joy never comes at the expense of the characters’ fragile humanity or the material’s poignancy.

The musical brings together the characters of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood, not just two princes, but two princes who want to marry, a witch longing to break a curse, and a Baker and his wife, longing for children. They express their desires and see them fulfilled in the first act, then crumble to shatter their happiness in the second act, as they are forced to re-evaluate their choices and consider not only their own Fate, but also consider the fate of the community. It asks what happens when we get what we want but still want more; when fantasies dissipate, leaving behind disappointments; and whether the costs of our dreams outweigh the rewards.

Consider the issues of love and justice, courage and cunning, freedom and loss, echoing the times in our lives that we all venture “into the woods,” occasionally “off the beaten path,” seeking dangerous ways and other for ourselves.If this sounds like postmodern deconstruction of the 80s or Bruno Bettelheim Uses of enchantingto a certain extent, but Debessonette and her cast balance the light and the dark, the playful and thoughtful side of the material with its delightful delicacy, ultimately providing how we accept by learning to forgive ourselves Tragedy and restorative evidence of growing from it and taking care of each other.

A large part of the humanist core comes from the ideal cast of Baker and his wife, stage stalwart Brian Darcy James and singer-songwriter Sarah Barreles playing in winning chemistry, she has Showcasing her sincere show in the musical, waitressas well as Mary Magdalene on NBC’s 2018 Live TV show jesus christ superstar. Her comedy skills seem to have improved with her work Girls5eva.

There is genuine affection in their connection and shared desire for children that makes them so sad that it forces them to make questionable moral decisions. Their first act song “It Takes Two” was a touching affirmation of a couple rediscovering each other. Yet even if their hopes are answered, they are still incomplete, and their conflicting feelings are explored in the production’s two excellent second act numbers – Baker’s Wife’s “Moment in the Woods” , which contemplates an always “or,” rarely using “and”; and Baker’s “no more,” a broken rejection of eternal need. Bareilles and d’Arcy James delve into the existential issues of these introspective songs, which carry a deeper vulnerability as they’ve long been giddy with the excitement of magic.

Their quest—the core journey between the arcs that gives the show its swift forward momentum—is a series of challenges set for them by their eccentric neighbor, the witch (Patina Miller). To break their childless spell, she sent them into the woods to get “a cow as white as milk, a cloak as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and slippers as pure as gold”, giving They bargained for beans from her garden. The witch’s hidden motive is to break her own curse and transform her from a blighted witch back to her former youth and beauty.

Miller, who has been absent from Broadway since she starred in the Tony Awards Pippin, who spends most of the first act wearing a grotesque mask, hideous wig, crumpled cloak and claws, she enjoys the character’s lighthearted cruelty without completely hiding her underlying desperation. Her transformation was a fabulous diva makeover, putting her in a purple gown and cape (with a pant option), allowing her sleek black hair and toned physique to match her gorgeous wardrobe. But in a cautionary tale, warning to be careful of your wishes, external enhancements come at the cost of her powers, meaning when the fairy tale goes bad, she’s no better than anyone in the forest to deal with disaster.

The group includes Cinderella (Philippa Sue), who longs to get rid of her drudgery to attend the Palace Festival, reconsidered when her prince (Gavin Creel) emerges forcefully, but she Still married him. Little Red (Julia Lester) is staying with her grandma (Anne Golden), both of whom seem like easy prey for the horny wolf (Claire again), until Baker Found the site by accident. Gentle lad Jack (Cole Thompson) is ordered by his weary mother (Amy Garcia) to sell his beloved milky white because the poor looking cow is no longer producing milk. Chained in a tower, Rapunzel (Alysia Velez) shares her brisk singing and her long golden braids with the witch until her own prince (Joshua Henry) wanders around.

The mashup yields a ton of broad comedy, funny bugs, and continuous gags to reflect the recurring musical themes in “I Hope” and “Into the Woods,” so subtly set in the multi-threaded prologue.

Highlights of the comic include gimmicky Wolff’s “Hello, Little Girl,” where Kriel makes a nasty first impression before masking his unhealthy appetite with a slick moccasin routine. The actor played the vain and unabashedly shallow prince more honorably (“I grew up being charming, not sincere,” he admitted later), forming with Henry as his somewhat respectful brother in their gesture manifesto duet A hilarious team, “Pain.” Henry is mostly known for his theatrical roles, but his goofy aristocracy here makes you wish he strayed into comedy more often. And the sound was great.

Two talented young freshmen, Leicester and Thompson, are up for grabs. Lester’s Little Red is a millennial scoundrel greedily helping himself to eat sugary baked goods no one thought was for grandma. Her “I know now” has never sounded so playfully smug, and her lukewarm responses to grown-ups are invaluable. Thompson’s Jack is her perfect counterpoint – a tender, lovable, innocent child, even if he inadvertently brings chaos; his true awe of “Giants in the Sky” is contagious, his love of milky white So is love.

The cow is one of the few charming puppet designs by James Ortiz. You can see its brooding eyes and expressive body movements while giving the same attention to all of the main characters as Cameron Johnson (covering for Kennedy Kanagawa in the recapped performance) handled it deftly physical and vocal requirements.The challenge of animating this wordless main character has met any number of concepts into the woods Worked over the years, this is probably the most relaxing way I’ve seen a cow come to life. The crowd raved about every appearance of it.

Another key role is Soo’s Cinderella, since she was in HamiltonShe’s pure-hearted, but cute and silly, talks to birds (Ortiz’s work is even more adorable), stumbles wildly in the woods in a golden slipper, and stops to sympathize with Baker’s wife for her pursuit, even if she refuses. Give up shoes. Soo’s crystalline soprano sounds lighter than air in Cinderella’s ambivalent self-reflection “On the Steps of the Palace,” and her singing in “No One is Alone” makes that solemn reminder of the comfort of unity very touching.

The coming shadows hang over the whole laugh, and the devastation wrought by the vengeful wife of a slain giant – voiced by the priceless Kim and visualized with astonishing creativity, is best left as a surprise – with every Personal computing matches the characteristics of the individual. These experiences also become a collective awakening, channeled in the stirring ending number “Kids Will Listen” directed by Miller’s witch. The character’s other big songs “Stay with Me”, “Witch’s Lament”, “Last Midnight” are all performed by Miller, and they feel surging.

David Rockwell’s simple yet effective design originally included dollhouse versions of Cinderella, Baker and Jack’s homes, suspended above their respective identifying props – a bucket, a pastry cart and a milking stool. But even those smallest elements are gone, replaced by birch trunks and a moving moon behind Music Director Rob Berman’s 14-piece orchestra, who sit behind a performance space on stage. Hearing Jonathan Tunick’s sparkling orchestra play and sing so beautifully is a wonderful tribute to Sondheim, whose death last November left Broadway with an inconsolable sense of loss, here The gloomy moments of the show reverberated.

Venue: St. James Theatre, New York
Actors: Sarah Barreles, Brian D’Arcy James, Patina Miller, Philippa Sue, Gavin Creel, Joshua Henry, Julia Lester, Cole Thompson, David Patrick Kelly, Anne Golden, Nancy Opel, Amy Garcia, Tanica Gibson, Albert Gerson, Brooke Stonebridge, Kennedy Kanagawa, David Turner, Alicia Belle Sri Lanka
Director: Lil Debessone
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: James Lapin
Set Designer: David Rockwell
Costume designer: Andrea Hood
Lighting Designer: Tyler Micoleau
Sound Designers: Scott Lehrer, Alex Neumann
Puppet Designer: James Ortiz
Music Director: Roberman
Choreography: Jonathan Tunick
Choreography: Lorraine Lataro
Executive Producer: Nicole Castellinos
Presented by Jujamcyn Theatre, Jordan Roth, Downtown New York, Daryl Roth, Hunter Arnold, Concord Theatricals, Nicole Eisenberg, Jessica R. Jenen, Michael Cassel Group, ShowTown Productions, Armstrong, Gold & Ross

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