The Editor speaks: If you go “Into The Woods” you are in for a musical feast

The Cayman Drama Society starts off the
2019/2020 theatre season with their production of “Into The
Woods” opening September 12, 2019 and running through October
5th, at the Prospect Playhouse. Doors open at 6:30PM, curtain opens
at 7:30PM. There will be no show on Saturday, September 21’1, but
instead there will be one Sunday matinee at 4:00PM on September 22,
2019. Into The Woods is an award-winning musical with music and
lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine-Barrie and Teri
Quappe are co-Directors, Chuck and Barrie Quappe are the Musical
Directors.

“The musical intertwines the plots of
several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring
the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main
characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack
and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”,
as well as several others. The musical is tied together by a story
involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a
family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel”),
their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and
their interaction with other storybook characters during their
journey.” – Wikipedia.

I was present with my wife, Joan, at
the Dress Rehearsal last Tuesday (10) and Joan returned with a friend
last Saturday (14) as a member of the live audience.

Her verdict. She thought it was
brilliant at the DR and absolutely fabulous at the live performance.
What made it better was the feedback from the audience, she said,
that was missing from the DR. There was only five of us in attendance
then. The audience showed their appreciation with their laughter and
applause. It received a standing ovation at the end of Act One and,
of course, Act Two with many cheers. She did not hear one word of
complaint.

I am not surprised. I thought it was
brilliant in the stark, bare surrounding of empty seats and the
whispered directions to the lighting crew by one of the production
members.

From the CDS handout I was given at the
door:

“CDS is proud to have such an amazing
cast for this incredible show. An incredible ensemble musical, many
familiar faces will be seen including Dominic Wheaton as Wolf and
Cinderella’s Prince, Vanessa Hansen as the Baker’s Wife/Granny, Teri
Quappe as Witch/Cinderella’s mother, Melody AIIenger as Cinderella,
Neil Hamaty as Mysterious Man/Narrator, Kayla Manderson as
StepMother, Adam Pellow as Cinderella’s father, Zoe Suliz as Lucinda,
India Dawson-James as Rapunzel and Li2lm Oko as Steward, we also
welcome new faces with 12 year old Chad Powell as Jack, Jose Zambrano
as Rapunzel’s Prince; Nicolas Picard as the Baker, Darlene Oko as
Jack’s mother, Emma Oko as Milky White, Jardae Barnes as Little Red
Riding Hood and Gabby Robinson as Florinda.

“With incredible and memorable songs
such as “Children Will Listen” and “Last Midnight,
this extraordinarily challenging musical is about what one may wish
for and what can really happen if your wishes come true-a sort of be
careful what you wish for and what happens after happily ever after.
This award winning musical is a delight with wit, imagination and
beautiful music. Keep an eye out for the wolf, listen to the witch
and, whatever you do, respect the giant in the sky.

“Chuck Quappe leads the talented
orchestra on piano with Kate AIIenger-Violin, Amber
McMillan-Euphonium; Charity Putman-Trombone/Tuba; Roger “Bugs”
Wilson on Acoustic Bass; Barrie Quappe-Percussion/Drums and Emily
Farren-Clarinets/Flute/Piccolo.

“Cayman audiences can expect to be
wowed by the scenic design by Tansi Make, the costume design by
Violetta Kanareck and Charity Putman with lighting design by Teri
Quappe and Duncan Kilpatrick and sound design by Chuck Quappe and
James Gibb.”

Before the show started I interviewed
Chuck and Barrie Quappe and Producer, Sheree Ebanks. This is what I
learnt.

The three of them had been talking
about staging “Into The Woods” for eight years ago but it wasn’t
until one and a half years ago they decided it was time to actually
stage it.

Chuck had been the one to put the
damper on the early idea because of the very difficult story line
that would need a lot of very talented actors, especially from the
male leads. I know how difficult it is to find male actors of any
calibre. Then there was the singing, Chuck said. Very, very
difficult. Sondheim is always difficult and this one is the biggest
challenge. That is why very few amateur societies take it on. And
worse. The music itself. There was no way Chuck, Barrie or Sheree
were going to stage it with piped music. It had to be live.

However, times have changed. From the
first beginnings, when I was involved, even before The Playhouse came
to be completed, when it was ‘amateur’ theatre and the talent was
mainly ‘raw’. Those tender seedlings have grown into what is now
professional shows where the artists don’t do it for money – they
do it because they ENJOY being on stage and entertaining.

The talent on this production is just
amazing. Nicolas Picard, who plays the Baker is a trained opera
singer who had never before sung anything in English.

Dominic Wheaton, who plays the horrible
wolf, and in his other part a prince, found a look-a-like, Jose
Zambrano, who plays his brother – also a prince.

Barrie told me, fifteen year old Jardae
Barns, turned up for the auditions and immediately got cast a Little
Red Riding Hood. She looked the part and, amazingly, had never acted
before or sung in public, never taken a lesson in either, and in
Barrie’s words, was “a Director’s dream”.

I also spoke to Vanessa Hansen, who I
know very well, She told me this was the musical she always wanted to
be in. She had auditioned for a role in it at college but didn’t get
cast so she was thrilled when the CDS announced they were going to
stage it. She got one of the lead roles. The Baker’s Wife. The most
difficult song for her was “Moments In The Wood” where she has to
sing with many different emotions. I can vouch, she performed it
100%!

I also spoke to the youngest member of
the cast, Chad Powell, Jr., who wants to be a movie actor. He told me
sadly, there are seldom any movies made here so he is turning his
attention to stage. This is his biggest part to date, and all of his
other acting roles had been school productions. He is really enjoying
it and has learnt a lot. He said he was so nervous now he almost
threw up in the Green Room. He didn’t but he did call Technical Week
– “HELL WEEK”! A very good name.

I cannot recommend this production
highly enough. You MUST come and see it for yourselves. Not just once
but twice. You will not catch all the many variations and intricacies
of the script and the songs in just one attendance.

The costumes are just beautiful as is
the set. And the Prospect Playhouse foyer has been designed as the
interior of the Giant’s House with everything BIG!

I leave you with these words from
Sheree:

“YOU DON’T NEED TO GO TO BROADWAY OR
LONDON ANYMORE TO SEE LIVE THEATER. STAY HERE AND COME TO THE
PROSPECT PLAYHOUSE IN RED BAY.”

The Cayman Drama Society is a community
theatre housed at The Prospect Playhouse in Red Bay, a 130 seat
theatre, and performs approximately five shows per year, including
one major musical.

Tickets are available at www.cds.ky

IMAGES: Georgina Wilcox

See also iNews Cayman story and more images at: https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/u-must-go-into-the-woods/

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