Fractured Fairy Tales
Menomonie troupe presents Into the Woods
Fairy tales almost always end the same way: Prince Charming saves the day, defeating whatever stereotypical villain came along to ruin everybody’s life, and they all live happily ever after. What they never do, however, is show what happens after “happily ever after.” This is exactly what is accomplished by the musical Into the Woods, which will be performed later this month by The Menomonie Theater Guild.
Ann Salt will direct MTG’s production of this musical, which combines a number of classic fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm to produce an amusing yet somber tale. Salt has been involved with theater since she was a teen. She’s directed and performed in several MTG shows – in fact, she played the role of Cinderella the last time the guild produced Into the Woods 21 years ago – and she’s very excited to be directing Into the Woods.
The show – with music by and lyrics by the legendary Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine – has become a classic since its 1987 Broadway debut, and was recently turned into a big-budget Hollywood film starring (among others) Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. “Instead of spending 50 million production dollars like Disney, this production relies on well-crafted physical elements that give impressions of places we recognize with everything being connected together through the element of wood,” Salt explains. “The woods help to tell a story of longing, magic, destruction, and the building of community.”
This show has 22 characters ranging from the sly and sinister Wolf hunting Little Red Riding Hood to the dimwitted but loveable Jack traveling with his cow, Milky White. With such a large tally, the musical requires an entertaining and capable group of players, which is exactly what the Menomonie Theater Guild provides. The cast is made up of community members who are certain to provide a wonderful show. Among those in the show are Kobi Shaw as The Witch and Kelan Smith as Jack (the guy with the beanstalk). Salt and her cast have been working hard, so they’re sure to deliver a memorable performance of this enjoyable musical.
“The characters are in their own worlds when they start their journeys,” Salt says, “(but) they end up helping, needing and finding hope by being connected as a group.”
Even though Into the Woods revolves around fairy tales, it should be noted that the musical has an older target audience. The first act involves each character finding his or her “happily ever after” scenario. The second act involves the repercussions of the first act, and takes the musical in a much more grim (or is that Grimm?) direction. In other words, you might want to leave the little kids at home for this one.
Menomonie Theater Guild production of Into the Woods • Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 27-28, Mar. 6-7, 7:30pm • Saturdays and Sundays, Feb. 28-Mar. 1, Mar. 7-8, 2pm • Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, 205 Main St. East, Menomonie • $20 adults, $18 students and seniors • (715) 235-0001 • menomonietheaterguild.com/#intothewoods