REVIEW: “Into the Woods”

One of the greatest perks about being a UofM student is having exquisite art right at our fingertips. The school of Music, Theatre and Dance is home to one of the top rated musical theatre departments in the country. This department rarely disappoints and “Into the Woods” was no exception. The University Production of “Into the Woods,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, delivered nothing less than what one would expect from this incredible department. The sold out show delighted its audience at the Lydia Mendelssohn theatre last Thursday evening.

The musical flawlessly intertwines the storylines from several of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales as it takes the audience to a place they’ve never seen. Namely, the darker more tragic endings that are not so “happy” after all. The main plot focuses on a baker and his wife and their quest to have a child all while interacting with characters from the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella among others. Sitting in the audience, it was difficult not to lose all concepts of time and space as the cast and crew took you on a mystifying journey through these stories.

As for the performers themselves, Andy Jones and Sam Lips stole the show with their hilarious performances as Cinderella and Rapunzel’s Princes. While skipping across the stage, these two performers nailed the roles impeccably. Their rendition of “Agony” was simply side splitting as the song enlightened the audience to their narcissistic personalities. The two characters provided the majority of the comic relief throughout the show, as they were often unaware of anything that was happening around them.

Additionally, you could not help but fall in love with Olivia Hernandez as she took on the role of Cinderella. She created a character that was relatable and loveable, all while having a powerhouse voice. You could not help but root for her character as she lived amongst an evil stepmother and sisters and was married to a lackluster prince who would rather role around in the “thicket” with another woman than be faithful to her. I must say that Olivia’s interpretation of Cinderella was nearly spot on. Her performance was by far my favorite out of this cast.

The overall production of the show was incredibly high as well. With wonderful costuming, set and lighting design, the show matched that of a professional theatre. As mentioned before, University Productions rarely disappoint and this was but another example of the incredible talent here at the University of Michigan. The show has since wrapped, be I would advise you to be on the lookout for upcoming University Productions!