Into the Woods

Friday, June 29, 2018
Nick Phillips as the Baker and Bella Tepedino as Little Red Ridinghood explore what it means to be “happy ever after” in the Marshall County Community Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” opening at the Dixie Theatre.
Tribune photo by Scott Pearson

What happens after happily ever after?

Thats the question asked by the Marshall County Community Theatre production of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.”

The production combines the stories of classic fairy tale characters into a dense, interwoven examination of how happy their ever after really was.

The cast of the Marshall County Community Theatre production of “Into the Woods.”
Photo submitted

“It’s a huge show,” said director Chase Miller, “when you twist them all together.”

Miller, who lives in Nashville, is directing his second show at the Dixie, having helmed “Footloose” a couple of years ago.

“I’m thrilled to be here doing this show,” said Miller. “It’s one of my all time favorite shows.”

Even though the musical features princesses and childhood favorites, it is no Disney fantasy.

Miller said that one of the main themes of the piece is that actions have consequences.

“Does any story ever end happily ever after?” he asked.

“Sondheim is difficult,” said producer Allison Mulliniks. “His work can be super complicated to produce, but the cast have done an amazing job with only five weeks of rehearsal time.”

The cast doesn’t seem fazed by the complexity of the show or the relatively brief time to prepare.

Nick Phillips, who also produced the show, and Annette Phillips are the baker and his wife, originally characters from Rapunzel, who want to have a child.

A witch, played by Hilliary Lemons, offers them an opportunity to make that happen if they will do something for her in return.

They go ‘into the woods’, out of their comfort zone and everyday life, to make their dream come true, and cross paths with characters with dreams of their own.

Jack, played by Dayrin Jones who was last on stage at the Dixie with the Yale University Whiffenpoofs, and his mother, Patricia Lynch, need money.

Little Red Ridinghood, played by Bella Tepedino, must navigate the woods with a wolf, Evan Dumser, and her grandmother, Sherry Gallagher.

Cinderella, Laura Beth Brown, is faced with her age-old struggle with her step-mother, Ashley Wilson, and her stepsisters, Sophia Smith and Abby Henry.

Kyle Bolton serves as both the Narrator and the Mysterious Man who helps drive the quests forward.

All of those threads eventually begin to tie together, bringing Rapunzel, played by Kennedy Alexander, Cinderella’s mother, Beth Hanson, a pair of handsome princes, Noah Swanson and Dumser, and their steward, Justice Bogle, into the knot of happily ever after in the first act.

The second act explores how long “ever after” might be, with a giant, Snow White, played by Laken Cowser, and Sleeping Beauty, Megan Hollingsworth, appearing and testing the dreams the characters thought they had achieved.

Musical direction for the production is provided by Elise Dumser, assisted by Naphtali Rothrock.

The musical continues Friday June 29, and Saturday, June 30, with show times at 7:30 p.m. A matinee is on offer Sunday, July 1, at 2 p.m.

“Into the Woods” concludes the following weekend with Friday and Saturday shows on July 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, July 8 at 2 p.m.

Tickets for the show are $18 and available online at Dixietheatre.org or at the Dixie box office an hour prior to show time.