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Into The Woods’ Returns To Old Globe 28 Years After Debut

Above: The cast of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, in a reimagining by Fiasco Theater, directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld.

Aired 7/24/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

28 Years After Its Debut, "Into The Woods" Returns To The Old Globe

GUESTS:

Noah Brody, Co-Director and Actor

Ben Steinfeld, Co-Director and Actor

Transcript

Credit: Copyright © The Old Globe

Emily Young as Little Red Ridinghood and Noah Brody as Wolf in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, in a reimagining by Fiasco Theater, directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld.

The musical "Into The Woods" debuted in 1986 at The Old Globe in Balboa Park. This month, the musical returns to the Globe with a fresh spin, courtesy of the Fiasco Theater company.

The original "Into The Woods," a collaboration between composer Stephen Sondheim and writer James Lapine, eventually went to Broadway and won several Tony Awards. It has since been revived many times, but didn’t return to the Globe until now.

The musical weaves together the stories of many fairy tale characters, and looks beyond the "happily ever after." Fiasco's version, which debuted at McCarter Theatre Center in New Jersey, features a cast of only 10 actors and a piano player, requiring each actor to play multiple parts, and some to play instruments.

Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, the two co-directors of "Into The Woods," are also two of the three co-artistic directors of Fiasco. The two met while students in the Brown/Trinity M.F.A. Acting Program. Prior to "Into The Woods," Fiasco was well-known for their Shakespeare, and had never done a musical.

Here's what Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote about the revived "Into The Woods:"

"The absence of show-stopping musical moments focuses our attention on the drama, which can't always handle the scrutiny. The genial lightness of Fiasco's ensemble manner, however, keeps things buoyant. Sentimentality, an inherent danger, is held at bay.

The theatrical camaraderie of these resourceful performers is its own delight. Fiasco's love of spinning yarns wins you over even when the yarn falls short. And isn't that the ultimate lesson of "Into the Woods"? That no matter how your life may disappoint, the power to make a rollicking story is always there to redeem." - Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times

U-T San Diego's James Hebert also reviewed Fiaso's production:

"Fiasco’s artists respond in kind with talents that could require a truckload of ampersands: They act and sing and create scenery and play instruments and play animals (and even play instrument-playing animals, if Milky White’s cowbell counts).

And yet their “Woods” is not some kind of Sondheim Lite. The production, directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld (who are also both in the cast), embraces all the piece's musical and thematic complexity; it's shot through with humor but remains steeped in the often unsettling lessons drawn from archetypal tales that date to the Brothers Grimm." - James Hebert, U-T San Diego

"Into The Woods" runs until Aug. 10, with a special autism-friendly performance on Aug. 9. Tickets are available here.

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