We were supposed to go Grand Valley last Sunday to see GVSU Opera Theatre: 'Into the Woods' by Stephen Sondheim. Alas, I was feeling under the weather and so we bailed. Good news, was that February 7th was NOT the last performance, so Mrs. Dr. Phil was able to exchange tickets for seats at the closing performance this afternoon. Yay!
Into The Woods
Grand Valley State University, Louis Armstrong Theatre, 2pm
GVSU did Into The Woods probably ten years ago. It was a delightful production, especially the cow. A non-speaking part, they had a guy in a cow suit standing there, sort of the worst realistic cow ever, just standing there with an udder poking out of his gut. Hilarious. Then there's the delightful nonsense of the musical itself.
Fairy tales are a mixed bag. Some are overly familiar. Some have been greatly watered down or Disneyfied from their earlier grim/Grimm incarnations. All of this has been tossed into a blender and the resulting puree is all at once familiar, funny, poignant and deadly serious. Yup, Cinderella's evil stepsisters lose toes and part of a heel in their mother's desire that they marry the prince. People get killed, mostly squished by the wife of the Giant from Jack in the Beanstalk. This does include the overly dramatic pompous professorial narrator, whom the characters figure is screwing around with their lives. Now what? Besides Jack and Cinderella, we get Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and more.
You want your "happily ever after"? It may not be so nice. (grin)
Lovely set, costumes and fantastic casting. The sound system was perfectly balanced and everyone was easily understood, except for one brief moment when the Baker's mike cut out. But the glitch was quickly fixed. This is a cast and crew that was having a great deal of fun -- and working with really good material.
Better, worse or the same than ten years ago? Both productions were excellent, but the words were harder to make out during the complex songs in the earlier un-miked production. So this was smoother, more comfortable. Final call -- SO GLAD we didn't end up missing this version.
As for the cow, that part was played by a small cow on wheels, which also had a handle. Much easier to move your cow around when it had a handle. The second cow, practically a cardboard cutout. You didn't know they needed a second cow? What makes you think the first one didn't die and get buried? Oh, and Little Red Riding Hood, with her sharp little knife, practically stole the show. (double-edged-grin)