The hit musical Into the Woods takes the stage this weekend in Charleston, as CLOG (Charleston Light Opera Guild) offers its take on the classic.
We have several cast interviews to share, starting with Scott Jarrell:
Q: Tell us the story behind Into the Woods.
Scott: The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore 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 an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Scott: I play the role of the Baker. The Baker is very different from his wife - he is not a go-getter, he is more of a follower than a leader, and he finds it difficult to take charge in situations. However, through his time in the Woods – and the challenges he faces there – he realizes that he is much stronger and more dependable than what he originally thought. I was drawn to the part of the Baker because, like him, it has taken challenging times in my life for me to realize traits about myself that I’ve always either wished for or thought I would never have.
Q: Why did you want to be in this musical?
Scott: First, I have never done a show by Stephen Sondheim. The challenge that he presents with the music and intensity of the show was something that drew me in a little bit more. I also grew to love the show a little more after the movie came out.
Q: What's your background in theatre?
Scott: This makes my fourth show with the Charleston Light Opera Guild. I’ve previously been in The Wedding Singer, Next to Normal and Ragtime (my first show with CLOG). Outside of CLOG, I’ve been in one show, and that was with the Children’s Theater of Charleston. I was a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz back in 1995/1996. I’ve performed with various choirs throughout the area, as well (i.e. Marshall University Chamber Choir, WV Symphony Chorus, South Charleston High School Chorale, University of Charleston Children’s Chorus).
Q: What's your favorite song in the show?
Scott: My favorite song is ‘No More.’ It’s a song that the Baker sings with the Mysterious Man. It highlights their relationship – or lack thereof – and speaks to me concerning my relationship with my own father. The scene itself is very emotional for me, mainly because it hits so close to home.
Q: Is the music challenging?
Scott: The music is very challenging. I had always heard that Sondheim was rough, but I never expected it to be quite so challenging. With all of the meter changes in a single song and notes stretching from the bottom to top of your register, it’s tough. But it makes the success of learning the music much more special.
Q: Tell us about the cast - there's a lot of talent on display there.
Scott: I cannot say enough amazing things about this cast. The experience on stage with everyone combined is very evident. It’s so refreshing to work with a cast of professional individuals who know how to take direction well, understand the stage (in general), and are focused enough to work on their own character without being told to do so. It’s a joy to run the show every time we step on the stage together, and I can’t wait for our audience members to expect that same joy when we open.
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Scott: First off – it’s Sondheim. For some people, that is all that needs to be said. But for others, it’s a show that talks about life – talks about challenges that we have all faced at one point or another – and talks about the struggles that help us learn more about ourselves and how strong we actually are inside. There’s a great deal of humor in the story, and the humor is perfectly displayed by the cast at all the right places. Then, add vocal quality and you’ve got a show that should appeal to and appease each and every individual sitting there in the audience.
Into the Woods is presented by the Charleston Light Opera Guild on May 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and May 10 at 3 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre at Civic Center Drive in Charleston, W.Va. Tickets are $25 for reserved seating. Tickets available at charlestonlightoperaguild.org or call 304-343-2287.