“Go to the woods and bring me back, One: the cow as white as milk, Two: the cape as red as blood, Three: the hair as yellow as corn, Four: the slipper as pure as gold”. And so it begins. A fairy tale with in a fairy tale. Wait, not within a fairy tale, within four of them!
Into the Woods Jr., this year’s American School of Doha’s Middle School production, is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine recounts four familiar childhood fairy tales woven together by a baker, his wife, and a witch who of course happens to be evil, although in all fairness, it’s partly because the baker takes her magic beans! As it turns out, this witch needs the aforementioned articles in order to lift a certain curse that has left the baker’s wife barren, and so the hunt for these items begin. These characters cross paths with Jack of “Jack and the Beanstalk” fame, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella.
First brought to stage in 1986 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, the story warns about not only being careful what you wish for, but also to be happy with what you wish for. With more death and destruction than a Jason Bourne film the climax of the full-length show is more “Grimm” than “Happily Ever After”. However, not to worry; no spoiler alert here, as director Jen Loría wisely chooses to close with the more uplifting Act One that is just as satisfying, (and less scarring to younger audiences).
There is however, a plot twist which we don’t mind revealing: The show is double cast: Two Cinderellas, two Jacks, four ugly stepsisters! In these days of struggling economies, Into the Woods Jr. still offers more bang for your buck with the old two for one. Depending on the particular performance, you will either be delighted by the West End cast or the Broadway cast. The only exception being Milky White, Jack’s cow, who Hala Haidar brings to life with truly magical puppetry skills in all performances. It doesn’t really matter which cast you see as the Perfect Storm that is choreographer Geoff Heney, musical director Melissa Scott, and Jen Loría have teamed up to make each and every one of these fairy tale legends truly legendary.
And while everybody on stage finagles their way into going to the king’s festival, it’s such a nice feeling to know that you are already there… and you didn’t even have to sell your cow to do this.
Tickets are available at the American School of Doha and please email firstname.lastname@example.org for event information.