Ocean State’s Into the Woods: Jolly Good Fun

Ocean State Theatre Company’s new production of Into the Woods is a delight for the eyes and ears.

This mash-up of a few Brothers Grimm fairytales unites Cinderella (Sarah Pothier), Rapunzel (Caroline Bateson) and Little Red Riding Hood (Nicole Calkins) in the story of a childless baker (Tommy Labanaris) and his wife (Amanda Ryan Paige) who embark on a quest “into the woods.”

The baker’s neighbor is an ugly old witch (Erika Amato) who put the curse of infertility on the baker after catching his father stealing six magic beans from her garden. She explains the curse will be lifted if the Baker and his wife can find the four ingredients that the Witch needs for a certain potion; “the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold,” all before the chime of midnight in three days’ time.

Along the way, the baker and his wife run into Cinderella, who wants to attend the King’s festival, Jack (Joseph Dipietro), a poor boy who wants his cow to give milk, and Red Riding Hood, who is on her way to visit her grandmother. There is also a mysterious man (Brian Mulvey) who has a connection to the baker.

Director Kathryn Markey has done a spectacular job with the staging. The ensemble cast features some magnificent voices, particularly Amato, Pothier, Labanaris and Wayne Hu, as Cinderella’s Prince.

Into the Woods is a lot of fun just to look at. Scenic designer Clifton Chadick created a gorgeous set with a multi-colored moon, and the outside of the stage is covered with green leaves. Costume designer Brian Horton is also working at the top of his craft. He created some truly gorgeous gowns for the ladies.

The score by Stephen Sondheim is also fantastic. “Agony,” a duet by the two princes, is charming. “Ever After,” the Act One closing song, is rousing. “Moments in the Woods,” sung by the baker’s wife, is another highlight.

Into the Woods has moments of humor, as well as tragedy. It’s a little bit long at two and a half hours, but entertaining and definitely worth seeing.

Into the Woods will be presented at Ocean State Theatre from April 29 – May 23. The theater is located at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick. Tickets are available online 24 hours a day at OceanStateTheatre.org and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling 401.921.6800. 

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