INTO THE WOODS is coming Wallis Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s critically acclaimed production of the Tony Award-winning show. The winter engagement will go from December 2 – 21.
Full press release below.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s INTO THE WOODS comes to THE WALLIS | Dec 2 – 21
(Beverly Hills, CA – November 3, 2014) Wallis Center for the Performing Arts (aka “The Wallis”) presents the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s critically acclaimed production of the Tony Award-winning musical Into the Woods for a limited 24-performance engagement December 2-21, 2014 (gala opening is Wednesday, December 3) at the Bram Goldsmith Theater.Into the Woods, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, is directed by Amanda Dehnert. Dehnert also serves as the production’s musical director, which creates a uniquely visionary and harmonious theatrical experience.
Into the Woods is a modern twist on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Beloved storybook characters, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of beanstalk fame) and the Baker and his Wife take on startling complexity as they discover wishes come with a price. Witches, wolves, giants and mysterious strangers force the heroes to face the music and look past “Happily Ever After.”
Patricia Wolff, Interim Artistic Director of The Wallis, said, “The Wallis takes enormous pride in bringing this brilliant and acclaimed production to our audience. Part of the joy of programming our season is in partnering with esteemed theaters like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, whose approach is fearless and innovative. This is a fantastic opportunity for The Wallis to introduce new audiences to Into the Woods, and to remind seasoned theater-goers why this iconic musical is so beloved.”
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, led by world-renowned Artistic Director Bill Rauch, offers this new production, which is a humorous and heartfelt chase through the woods, featuring a 17-member cast and an 18-member orchestra. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times said, “Left me rapturous…it was the beauty of the singing that melded the moral and emotional aspects of Into the Woods into a seamless vision.”
The cast features Jeff Skowron as the Baker, Rachael Warren as the Baker’s Wife, Miriam A. Laube as the Witch, Miles Fletcher as Jack, Robin Goodrin Nordli as Jack’s Mother, Jeremy Peter Johnson as Cinderella’s Prince/Voice of the Wolf, Howie Seago as the Wolf, Kjerstine Rose Anderson as Little Red Riding Hood, Jennie Greenberry as Cinderella, Robert Vincent Frank as Cinderella’s Father, Catherine E. Coulson as Cinderella’s Stepmother/Milky White, Royer Bockus as Rapunzel, John Tufts as Rapunzel’s Prince, Mauro Hantman as the Steward, Katie Bradley as Florina/Sleeping Beauty and Christiana Clark as Lucinda/Snow White.
This fairy-tale world features costumes by Linda Roethke, set by Rachel Hauck, lighting by Jane Cox, sound by Joshua Horvath, associate music direction by Matt Goodrich, fight direction by U. Jonathan Toppo, voice and text direction by David Carey and Rebecca Clark Carey, projection design by Omar Ramos, original casting by Joy Dickson, and is conducted by Martin Majkut.
Subscriptions and single tickets are available at www.thewallis.org or by calling 310-746-4000 or in person at The Wallis Ticket Services located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Calendar Listing for Into The Woods
Bram Goldsmith Theater, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
December 2 to December 21 – Gala opening Wednesday, December 3
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Evenings at 8 pm
Saturdays at 3 pm and 8 pm; Sundays at 2 pm and 7pm
Age: Mature elementary school students and up
In Person – Wallis Annenberg Center Box Office,
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
By Phone – 310-746-4000
Online – www.thewallis.org
More about Into the Woods
In the winter of 1982, just months after the failure of Merrily We Roll Along, Sondheim went to New York’s Public Theater to see Twelve Dreams, a play based on a case study of psychoanalyst Carl Jung by playwright/director James Lapine. It turned out that while Lapine had only seen his first Broadway musical three years earlier, that show had been Sweeney Todd, which he loved so much he saw it three times. Lapine’s intuitive, non-linear perspective, first developed as a photographer and designer, invigorated Sondheim. The result was Sunday in the Park with George, an exploration of the French pointillist painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Sunday provided a watershed in Sondheim’s career, winning him and Lapine the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Sunday also brought out new qualities in Sondheim’s work. Often accused of writing emotionally dispassionate scores, here Sondheim allowed a looseness and warmth to his songs. “Having to express the straightforward, unembarrassed goodness of James’ characters,” Sondheim wrote, “I discovered the [Oscar] Hammerstein in myself—and I was the better for it.” “In effect,” writes theatre historian Ethan Mordden, “Lapine created a new Sondheim.”
Eager to continue the collaboration, Sondheim suggested they take on something “fun and entertaining,” a fantasy along the lines of his favorite movie musical, The Wizard of Oz. Once he and Lapine set to work, they discovered the dramaturgical challenge of adapting a fairy tale for a full-scale musical. “Fairy tales, by nature, are short,” wrote Sondheim. “There are few characters and even fewer complications.”
Lapine overcame what felt like an insoluble problem by suggesting they write a story in which familiar fairy tale characters would, in Sondheim’s words, “collide and intertwine in a mutual meeting ground.” Except perhaps the Victor Herbert operettaBabes in Toyland, which combined various Mother Goose characters, the structure of Into the Woods stood out as unique at the time of the musical’s premiere in 1987.
Director and Musical Director Amanda Dehnert said, “One theme of Into the Woods is that we should pay attention to how we tell our stories—our personal stories—to the next generation, because they will listen. When the Baker does not know how to comfort his child, his Wife advises, ‘Tell him what you know.’ Into the Woods is not only about the telling of stories. It is about understanding that the span of a single life is very small: We are born, we live, we die. And yet, while we live, the actions we take will create something else, something new. In this way, ‘we die but we don’t.’”
Frank Rich, in The New York Times wrote, “Like the middle-aged showbiz cynics who return to their haunted youths inFollies and Merrily We Roll Along, or the contemporary descendant who revisits Georges Seurat’s hallowed park in Sunday in the Park With George, or the lovers who court in a nocturnal Scandinavian birch forest in A Little Night Music, Cinderella and company travel into a dark, enchanted wilderness to discover who they are and how they might grow up and overcome the eternal, terrifying plight of being alone. To hear No One Is Alone, the cathartic and beautiful final song of Into the Woods, is to be overwhelmed once more by the continuity of one of the American theater’s most extraordinary songwriting careers.”
About personnel of Into the Woods
Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics) Stephen Sondheim’s work as a composer-lyricist over the past six decades has set the standard for modern American musical theatre. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, John Weidman, James Lapine, Hal Prince and more. Other musicals: Lyricist, West Side Story, Gypsy; composer and lyricist, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Do I Hear a Waltz?, Company, A Little Night Music, Follies, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Assassins, Road Show, Bounce, Sunday in the Park with George, Passion. Revues: Sondheim on Sondheim, Side by Side by Sondheim, Marry Me a Little, You’re Going to Love Tomorrow, Putting It Together. Awards: Pulitzer Prize in Drama (Sunday in the Park with George, with James Lapine). He has won the most Tony Awards—eight—of any composer, including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievements (2008) as well as numerous Grammy Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Obie Awards and Olivier Awards. Several of his plays have been adapted for film and television. Sondheim is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
James Lapine (Book & Original Broadway Director) Other theatre: Broadway: Librettist and director, Falsettos (with William Finn); Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Passion (with Stephen Sondheim); director, The Diary of Anne Frank, Golden Child, Dirty Blonde, Amour, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sondheim on Sondheim, Annie(revival). Off-Broadway: Writer and director, Twelve Dreams, Table Settings; director, A New Brain, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland (with William Finn); writer, The Moment When. Regional: Librettist and director, Luck, Pluck and Virtue, writer and director; Fran’s Bed, director; director, Merrily We Roll Along (with Stephen Sondheim). International: Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (Berlin); Passion (West End). TV: Into the Woods (PBS American Playhouse). Film: Impromptu, Live with Mikey, Earthly Possessions. Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Sunday in the Park with George, with Stephen Sondheim); Tony Awards (Into the Woods, Passion, Falsettos); Drama Desk Awards (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Passion, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sondheim on Sondheim). In 2010, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. Teaching: Yale School of Drama (design). Education: CalArts.
Amanda Dehnert (Director) In three seasons at OSF: My Fair Lady; Julius Caesar; All’s Well That Ends Well. Other theatres: Regional: Eastland (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Richard III (The Public Theater); Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory); Death of a Salesman (Dallas Theater Center); The Fantasticks (South Coast Repertory/Arena Stage/Long Wharf Theatre); Cabaret (Stratford Shakespeare Festival); Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); My Fair Lady (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Play House); Henry IV, West Side Story, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Annie, The Skin of Our Teeth, Noises Off, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Othello, Saint Joan (Trinity Repertory Company). Other credits: Author/director: The Verona Project (California Shakespeare Theater); Peter Pan (A Play) (Lookingglass Theatre). Musical direction: Annie, My Fair Lady, A Christmas Carol, The Threepenny Opera, The Music Man. Acting artistic director: Trinity Repertory Company, 2005–2006 season. Teaching: Associate professor (theatre), Northwestern University; clinical professor (theatre), Brown University and Trinity Repertory MFA Consortium. Awards: Gielgud Fellowship (Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation); Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director, Helen Hayes nomination, Jeff Awards nomination. Education: Illinois Wesleyan University.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival — Founded by Angus Bowmer in 1935 and winner of a 1983 Tony Award for outstanding achievement in regional theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., has grown from a three-day festival of two plays to a major theatre arts organization that presents an eight-month season consisting of 11 plays that include works by Shakespeare as well as a mix of classics, musicals and new works. The Festival also draws attendance of more than 400,000 to almost 800 performances every year and employs approximately 575 theatre professionals. In 2008, OSF launched American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle, a 10-year cycle of new play commissions that look at moments of change in America’s past, that has already resulted in several OSF commissions finding success nationwide. One of the cycle, All the Way, won the Tony Award for Best Play (2014), and currently holds the Broadway box office record for highest gross for a play (non-musical) topping its own record for three consecutive weeks.
About The Wallis
Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, California, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (aka “The Wallis”) brings audiences world-class theater, dance and music, performed by many of the world’s most talented and sought-after artists. With eclectic programming that mirrors the diverse landscape of Los Angeles, and its notability as the entertainment capital of the world, The Wallis offers original and revered works from across the US and around the globe. This fall marks The Wallis’ second season, which also includes its prestigious “Arts& Ideas” series, conversations with guests from the realms of culture, literature and politics. Housed in a breathtaking 70,000-square-foot venue designed by Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA of Studio Pali Fekete architects, The Wallis celebrates the classic and the modern. This is reflected in the juxtaposition of the restored, original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office (on the National Register of Historic Places) that serves as the theater’s dramatic yet welcoming lobby, and houses the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, as well as a theater school for young people, and the contemporary 500-seat, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater. Together, these two structures embrace the city’s history and its future, creating a performing arts destination for LA-area visitors and residents alike.