The north woods of Nordeast Minneapolis just got a new cast of characters: a Wicked Witch, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, a Baker and his wife, a boy named Jack, and a Giant. Oh, and that giant beanstalk towering over the Ritz Theater? That'll lead you to a delightful new production of Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim's classic musical mashup of children's fairy tales (with plenty of grown-up twists).
Theater Latte Da's production has a magic that no Hollywood special effects can touch, because it draws on your imagination. The set is simple, but never simplistic. It's filled with found objects, brought to life with a child's sense of play and an artist's intelligence. And remember, if you've only seen the movie, you haven't seen the whole show. The stage version includes several very moving songs that were cut from the movie.
Most of all, director Peter Rothstein assembled a wonderful cast. The Witch is Greta Oglesby, who made her stunning debut in the Guthrie production of Caroline or Change. I invited Peter and Greta and fellow cast members David Darrow as the Baker, Britta Ollmann as Cinderella, and Peter Middlecamp as Cinderella's Prince to Classical MPR to learn more about the production, and sing three of Sondheim's greatest songs: "Stay With Me", "Agony" and "No One Is Alone."