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Cappies Review: Giving New Life to a Timeless Story

Robert E. Lee High School’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

“Into the Woods” is acclaimed as one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest masterpieces, with magnificent wit and beautiful music, bringing the Brothers Grimm fairy tales back to life in a new light. With impressive ensemble vocals, a wonderful orchestra, and standout performances from within the cast, Sondheim’s vision was brought to the stage of Robert E. Lee High School.

“Into the Woods” follows the classic fairy tales of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and several others, which are all tied together by the original story of The Baker and his wife. The first act follows the characters on their quest to get their wishes. The second act takes place after their wishes have been granted, where a normal fairy tale would end, and it explores the dark consequences the characters must face after getting what they wished for.

“Into the Woods” opened on Broadway in 1987, winning three Tony Awards. The show ran for 784 performances on Broadway and has since become an iconic musical of the 20th Century. The intensely intricate music and the compelling story have had audiences captivated for 26 years.

The lead characters that tie the stories together are the Baker and the Baker’s Wife, played by Preston Taylor and Emily Kelly. Taylor’s rich baritone voice was very pleasant to listen to, and all of his songs were very well delivered, especially during his solo “No More.” Kelly’s acting was very convincing, and she seemed to really understand her character’s motivations and purposes.