“Into the Woods” at Village Theatre

Ah, Stephen Sondheim! Considered by many to be the finest contemporary creator of musical theatre. His fairy tale “Into the Woods” now playing at Village Theatre is a little too convoluted for me, but the music soars, and the production values are splendid.

First produced on Broadway in 1987, it garnered numerous awards and has become an international hit since. It’s a pastiche of a number of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perraut, and here they are drawn together quite effectively. Among its many characters are Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, the baker and his wife, Jack and his mother of beanstalk fame, and an evil witch. Each has a quest, and each must endure setbacks before achieving the desired goal. There are fairy tale curses hindering the quests and eventually happy endings, but getting there isn’t easy for any of the characters.

You don’t go to this production for the story, though do you? It’s the music that Sondheim is most famous for. And for you Sondheim fans you’ll find a cast that knows how to masterfully deliver his music. In addition, you also get spectacular effects with staging, lighting, and sound. Kathryn Van Meter gets credit as Director and Choreographer. Tim Symons is in charge of the music.

There’s lots of humor as these characters interact with one another and attempt to achieve their various goals. There are also a number of unexpected delights in the staging. I won’t tell you exactly what Jack’s cow looks like. I assure you, however, you’ll be charmed by it. Rapunzel’s hair, too, offers some surprises.

And there’s even a moral. We all have our “woods” to contend with, and it behooves us to review the choices we make so that we can learn from our experiences. There are consequences for our actions.

But note, if you like your theatre short and sweet this may be a bit much, and not only for young children. The program runs almost three hours.

Through Oct. 22 at Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N. Issaquah, 425 292-2202, boxoffice@villagetheatre.org

Oct. 27-Nov. 19 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett, 425-257-8600.

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