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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Redwood Area Theatre musical explores life after “happily ever after”

  • The point where most fairy tales end is where the Redwood Area Theatre (RAT) summer musical "Into the Woods" really takes off; "I like to think the first act of "Into the Woods" is for kids, and the second half is for grown ups,” said director Josh Johnson....
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  • Everyone knows the goal of living a fairy tale is to live happily ever after, right?
    But what happens after you’ve met and married Prince Charming?
    What happens after you’ve stolen the giant’s hen that lays the golden egg?
    What happens after you’ve escaped from the tower you’ve been locked in your whole life, or saved Granny from the wolf?
    The point where most fairy tales end is where the Redwood Area Theatre (RAT) summer musical Into the Woods really takes off.
    “I like to think the first act of Into the Woods is for kids, and the second half is for grown ups,” said director Josh Johnson, making his RAT debut.
    He continued, “The first act is all the Grimm’s fairy tales we grew up hearing. The second act is about how what the characters thought they wanted, isn’t.”
    When the original 1987 production premiered on Broadway, it won awards for original score, and anticipated later fairy tale mash-ups like Shrek and Wicked.
    Johnson, who credits Mel Brooks as one of his comedic influences, said one of the things that intrigued him about Into the Woods is “the contrasting moments. It goes very quickly from comedy to serious, and back to comedy.”
    One of the biggest challenges for the RAT cast and crew has been mastering the score. Composer Stephen Sondheim is infamous for not making his songs easy to sing or play. Several cast members compared Into the Woods’ songs to singing tongue twisters at top speed.
    “The music is very, very complicated,” said Cat Lovett, who plays one of the show’s two charming princes. “The songs are very fast. This production has been like a two-month theatrical workshop.”
    Kurtis Parlin plays the Baker, whose quest to become a father ends up becoming the focus of the story.
    “The biggest challenge is simply how much music there is,” Parlin said. “In large numbers, with a large number of singers having to all sing the same words at the same time, if someone gets it wrong, you’re going to have a muddle.”
    Parlin added, “The biggest thing people need to know is how much fun Into the Woods is. I can promise everyone they’ll enjoy it.”
    For information about play dates and tickets, see http://redwoodareatheatre.org/

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