Into the Woods Jr.

Port Washington Bandshell on the water at sunset
Photograph courtesy of Michael Scotto

The glorious sunset blushed into the horizon as the lights came on at the John Philip Sousa Memorial Bandstand in Port Washington, New York.  A dreamy and beautiful painted backdrop of a dense woods, and spookier moving projections on the side panels set the scene for an evening’s entertainment of Into the Woods Jr., a gentle adaptation of the famous production by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. It is an almighty mash up of numerous Grimm Brothers’ and other fairytales, including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk.  The story’s message questions whether our wishes are worth the price paid for them to be granted. 

It was a fast-paced evening, starting with our two narrators on time-and-half mode getting us straight into the story.  The stage directions were excellent and felt more choreographic than blocking with tableau, after tableau of the whole cast on stage.  This was not an easy task considering the stepped stage of the bandshell, which was used to great effect.

The cast showcased the individual characters well and carried the difficult musical score.  The earnest Baker and his strong Wife, the dynamic Little Red Riding Hood, sad Cinderella and her fierce stepmother with the gorgeous stepsisters who were jubilant and much nicer than my own memories of the childhood fairy tales. Quiet Jack and his despairing mother with his best friend Milky-White Cow, dreamy Rapunzel and the very scary Witch, the very cool-dude Wolf, kind Granny/Cinderella’s real mother, the competitive two Princes, the loyal and efficient Steward and a very mysterious, Mysterious Man who (pssst – don’t tell anyone) is the Baker’s father. 

The cast of 8–16-year-olds who practiced for 8 weeks under the helm of Rachel Blackburn and her creative team, produced a very enjoyable and professional show, appreciated by a good sized audience of family, friends and theater lovers sitting on folding chairs and blankets.    The enthusiasm of the cast members was infectious and refreshing.  Special mention goes to Milky White Cow, who constantly drew my eye, wordlessly and obediently following different characters on his hands and knees (on a rough concrete floor), adorned with a very creative set of udders.  He keeled over to die gloriously, (worthy of a Romeo) and his one line of “mooooo” was dramatic!

Good work!


Narrators                                          Audrey Peterson & Hope Peterson

Cinderella                                         Anna Kate Morovich

Jack                                                    Jamie Wong

Milky White                                      Jake Rennard

Baker                                               Crew Durrant

Baker’s Wife                                    Cayleigh Ricchiutti

Cinderella’s Stepmother                Grace Morovich

Florinda                                            Audrey Duckstein

Lucinda                                             Liana McCarthy

Littler Red Riding Hood                 Emily Rennard

Jack’s Mother                                   Estella Gallo

Witch                                                 Reagan Zelles

Cinderella’s Mother/Granny         Dahlia Lichtinstein

Mysterious Man                              Matteo Rizzo

Wolf/Steward                                  Charlotte Parker

Rapunzel                                           Elizabeth Milgrim

Rapuzel’s Prince                              Dean Perkins

Cinderella’s Prince                          Lenny Webber

Piano                                                  Caleb Hoyer

Drum Set & Percussion                  Noah Hadland

Trumpet                                             Nick Stephens

Digital Set                                         James Fitzpatrick, Fitz Studios

Set Design                                         Rachel Blackburn & Melissa McElroy

Director                                             Rachel Blackburn

1 Comment

  • Into the woods, without regret, the choice is made, the task is set.
    Into the woods, but not forgetting why (we’re) on the journey…..
    [paraphrase of lyric from Sondheim musical, “Into the Woods.”]

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