Spring break for me, thank you, was a most enjoyable writing a remembrance and gardening at home, and attending the theatre downtown.
So instead of doing a city observed on public radio 97.5 KBU and select websites as I do every Saturday, it is an arts and entertainment observed, happily hailing the current production at the Ahmanson, “Into the Woods.,”
The revival running until mid May has to be one of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s most fun musicals, a mash up of fairy tales both familiar and fractured, engaging, enchanting, sure to please children of parental guidance age, and also a little edgy, to please hardened adults.
Premiered 30 years ago to much praise on Broadway, it has been a favorite of touring and regional production companies everywhere, and also made into the inevitable Disney movie a few years ago
Overblown with over-the-top performances by superstars Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, it nonetheless was a much praised commercial hit.
We all know the weaving of the playful story lines, and the adventures and misadventures of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, tested by the all purpose witch, along with a big bad wolf and a bigger giant.
Therefore, to be a critic, in effect an advocate for the theatre goer, one must approach a revival with a wary eye, alert to what makes the production special, and not a forgettable, ho hum, cash cow rip off.
Fear not. It is an absolute pleasure to report this latest revival of “Into The Woods,” brought to L.A. by the Center Theatre Group, is fresh, brimming with a new look and new energy.
On an open bare bones stage, fashioned and played with a charming abandon by the acclaimed Fiasco Theatre company, it is sure to delight even the Sondheim purists.
And there being no set pieces, it allowed me to focus on the performances, which were marvelous, most of the actors performing multiple roles with aplomb.
Loved Darick Pead, in 3 roles, including the cow, and also Bonnie Kramer and Anthony Chatmon, He particularly was great as the prince and a wolf, in a great musical. Kudos all.