It’s time for another interview with the cast of Into the Woods - you just have two chances left to catch the beloved musical, and CLOG’s version is getting rave reviews.
Today let’s hear from one of Cinderella’s delightfully wicked stepsisters, Lucinda, as played by Katherine Shaver.
Q: Tell us the story behind Into the Woods.
Katherine: The first act is a cross roads between all of your favorite fairy tales, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, with a Baker and his wife who cannot have a child and an evil witch - like all good stories have. As they all go into the woods, they're met with challenges and bumps in the road to getting what they wish, and in the end they all do so. But in Act 2, the characters find themselves less than "happy ever after" with their wishes come true. So, again, they all travel in to the woods, but this time with a common cause - there's a second beanstalk and a second giant.The show doesn't end in the same fanciful "happy ever after" we come to know as kids. But instead it ends with a very real, human idea of finding contentment, family, and courage.
Q: Tell us about the character you play.
Katherine: I play one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters, Lucinda, and I love it! The roles of the stepsisters are comedic roles that require more attention to characteristics and physicality, which is something I don't get to do very often. However, in a show like this, if you're not a character taking a journey, you're helping the audience take their journey and that is so, so important. Comedic relief is a necessity, and the stepsisters offer the audience something to laugh at, something to hate, something to predict. Not to mention how fun it is for the actor to get up and make a fool of themselves every night. The collaborative journey Lauren, who plays Florinda, and I got to share was so fun. Every night one of us would go "OOH! What if we do this!" or come in to rehearsals like "I had an idea last night!" And our characters just became more quirky and silly.
Q: Why did you want to be in this musical?
Katherine: In middle school, one of my best friends showed me the original Broadway cast recording. That first night I think we might have watched it three times. For months after that, we watched it every time we spent the night and got to the point where we knew the timing of each funny line and could sing every song with motions and all. Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason inspired me so much, and singing along with them through high school was half of the practice I got between voice lessons. The show also speaks to me a lot, and any chance to be in a show where you're telling a story you believe in is one worth doing.
Q: What's your background in theatre?
Katherine: I started doing Children's Theater of Charleston productions in 2008, and have had the opportunity to work with a variety of directors in over 20 productions since. I've performed the role of Mary in CYAC's annual MARY, played Chava in CLOG's Fiddler on the Roof, attended WV's Governor School for the Arts, and the NYU Tisch Summer High School Drama program as well. I've also been accepted to Emerson College's Theatre Department in Boston and will be attending there in the fall.
Q: What's your favorite scene in the show?
Katherine: My favorite scene as a stepsister is when we get our feet chopped off! If you haven't seen the show, I'll try not to ruin it! But Lauren and I definitely spent a lot of time picking up little things we could add there. We really get to send things over the top, and if there's ever a time to shine, it's when your mother is cutting off your toe!
Q: Is the music challenging?
Katherine: Definitely! Sondheim is no walk in the park, even to experienced singers. But the cast was so familiar with the show, it was a joy to sing the music and learn the little intricacies you don't always pick up but miss if they're not there. Also, fitting the dialogue together with music has been a labor we've all struggled with. Most of all... the words! Sondheim's lyrics are carefully crafted wordplay, and you can't get them wrong or you've messed everything up.
Q: Tell us about the cast - there's a lot of talent on display there.
Katherine: This cast is totally stacked. Most of us are very experienced and have worked together a lot, which makes the long nights easier and more fun. But even the few we didn't know have really brought their own spice to the show, making it better and different than anything I've ever seen. Our energies are all melting together to make this big, wonderful world. Best of all, it's a small cast, so we get the chance to really know everyone and spend time together. Even after rehearsals or on nights off, we've gotten together to watch the original recording, play board games, and grab dinner.
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Katherine: This show is so much more than it seems on the outset. Sure, we're all familiar with the usual fairy tales, and it's cute they're all meeting each other. But the truths about human nature that we have all experienced as we set out to fulfill our desires is manifested in each character's story line, and using the fairy tale characters, the message is so much more clear and plain. You come away with so much empathy and understanding, but you've also had a good laugh and heard beautiful music. In the end, it justifies the beans!
Into the Woods is presented by the Charleston Light Opera Guild on May 15 and 16 at 7:30 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.