By Nancy Powell
Rancho Cucamonga Community Theatre’s decision to produce the Sondheim classic Into the Woods brought out some great local talent for the first show of their 10th season.
“Although Into the Woods is part of our Community Theatre program [actors volunteering their time], this particular show has not been done much recently and it is a very popular musical for those who enjoy performing theatre,” says Rancho Cucamonga Cultural Arts Coordinator Patrick Hediger. “As a result of choosing this particular play and choosing David Lamoureux, who has a reputation for creating wonderful musical theatre, this show has attracted many performers who often work [and are in high demand] in the local theatre scene.”
Lamoureux is considered “brilliant” by many and, at age 24, has already had quite a successful career in the rock/pop musical industry.
“He is also the ‘hottest’ musical director in the region having recently done a series of shows for Candlelight Pavilion, Performance Riverside, Musical Theatre West and others,” Hediger says. “David has been our musical director of our ‘edgier’ Broadway at the Gardens series since its inception. He musically directed Sweeney Todd and Rent and will musically direct Evita this April. It is my hope that Into the Woods will propel him into the spotlight as a sought-after director as well as musical director.”
Into the Woods is a musical by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book), originally directed on Broadway in 1987, winning several Tony Awards.
The musical weaves together plots and other elements of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella.
Some cast highlights for this production include Zoe Bright (Jack’s Mother) who has played many starring roles in London’s West End (England’s equivalent to Broadway); local director George Strattan (Narrator/Mysterious Man) returns to the stage after a successful directing career; and local performers and well-know couple Allen Everman (Baker) and Cassie Murphy Everman (Baker’s Wife) will perform together for the first time as a real-life husband and wife, having married earlier this month.
“This is a favorite show for theatre goers and performers alike,” Hediger says. “Stephen Sondheim is one of the legends of musical theatre. We try to come up with titles that are popular enough to be successful at the box office, but not the standard community theatre show choices, which can become overdone and less interesting. I worked with David Lamoureux to find a project that would accentuate his abilities and excite our local community. This show also has a decent size cast with a wide range of ages and good roles for women. The cast ranges in age from 17 to 50 plus.”
“I believe we have built a reputation on doing shows that straddle the line between popularity and challenging artistic works,” Hediger adds. “I like to think that we pick shows that people know the title and generally what the show is about, but maybe have not seen the show because they’re not often performed. It is a little challenging for this show to be tackled as a community theatre, but our community theatre has a reputation for being more than your typical community theatre; attracting directors, designers and performers who enjoy working with our staff and in this theatre.”
Rancho Cucamonga Community Theatre’s Into the Woods at Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Dr., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 477-2752; www.lewisfamilyplayhouse.com. Opens Sat, Nov. 13. Thru Nov. 21. 7PM and 2:30PM showings. Tickets $17.