The beloved musical Into the Woods will take the stage this weekend at the Renaissance Theatre in Huntington (the main stage of the old Huntington High School).
They’re busy getting through Tech Week, but we managed to get some interviews with members of the cast, starting with Becky McClelland, who plays a couple of deadly roles in the show.
Q: For those who haven't seen it, tell us the story behind Into the Woods.
Becky: In Act I, many popular fairy tale characters go 'Into the Woods' to get their wishes. In classic fairy tale fashion, everyone gets what they wish for. But it doesn't stop there. In Act II, each individual must live with the consequences of getting exactly what they wished for.
Q: So it's more than just children's fairy tales?
Becky: Oh yes! Although this musical is appropriate for children, it really speaks to adults with the underlying idea of 'be careful what you wish for'.
Q: Tell us about the characters you play.
Becky: I play dual roles of Cinderella's birth mother and Little Red's Granny. In both roles I am dead before the show ever starts. I appear to Cinderella from within a handsome tree she planted at my grave. As for Granny, I've been... well... I've been eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. Lucky for me, a great baker comes along! In addition to my roles, I've had the privilege of making a couple of set pieces and several costumes using many, many yards of fabric.
Q: What's your background in theatre?
Becky: Beyond a few plays and directing children's programs at church, I'm quite new to the theatre world. I began working with ARTS last fall with Crazy for You and got completely hooked. This year I am a resident company member with roles in Our Town, Into the Woods, Medea, and Brigadoon as well as tech for Company.
Q: What's your favorite song in the show?
Becky: In this play we meet the baker and his wife. The baker lost his father in a baking accident years ago (or so he had been told). As he is forced to jump through hoops to reverse a curse caused by his father he learns that a strange man is, indeed, his father who had left him many years before. Michael Naglee (as the Baker) and Richard Fleenor (as his father) perform a song together called “No More” that simply gives me chills.
Q: Tell us about the cast - there's a lot of talent on display there.
Becky: Wow. Where do I begin? The talent in this little group in Huntington, West Virginia is amazing! Tiffany Trent absolutely kills it on vocals as the witch. Andrew Surber, as Jack (of beanstalk fame) and Jack's mother, Mary Olson, both have so much energy in their roles and bring so much humor to the stage. Anna Baker as Little Red is unforgettable in each of her encounters; particularly with Eric Wilson who doesn't just play, but becomes the Wolf. Nora Ankrom, as the Baker's Wife, impresses me more each time I watch her. I could go on and on. Every individual in this show makes me aspire to get better so I can hold my own here.
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
Becky: First of all, I am a true believer of supporting local artists. Come to the show if for no other reason than that. But know that once you get here, you will be treated to top quality acting and direction by some of the area's finest artists. As for the story line, we all wish 'more than anything' for something. So often we forget that what we have is already pretty great. In this show we see the damage done to and by so many people because they were not content with what they had. And this show has what every movie-goer looks for; action, violence, love, humor, and beautiful ladies and men. What more could you want?
Into the Woods is presented by Arts Resources for the Tri State (ARTS). The classic musical takes the stage June 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the ARTS Renaissance Main Stage at 900 8th Street in Huntington. Tickets are $15 for the show only, $30 for dinner and the show. Reservations are required for dinner - call 304-733-2787.