The Ithaca College Theatre Department’s performance of Into The Wood took a bold spin on classic fairytales, bringing to life familiar characters in new and exciting ways.
The musical itself has a lot going on with many overlapping plotlines and thematic ideas, but that is what gives the musical a fun and energetic vibe. And energy was not something this cast was missing. Nor was talent missing. In this cast, girls really did run the world.
To kick things off, Senior M.T. Alyssa Magarian cast a spell not only on a poor baker’s family, but also on the audience in the Hoerner Theater. She gave new depths to the character of Rapunzel’s witch/mother, especially with her touching rendition of “Stay With Me.” Every note was perfect; every line was rich. Well done.
Senior M.T. Katie Drinkard, who played Cinderella, also had a great performance, encompassing the loving, kind and warm inner princess every girl wants to grow up to be. Her vocal performance was also spot on—as per usual—making it as easy for the audience to fall in love with her as it was for her Prince Charming. Senior M.T. Grace Stockdale played the Baker’s wife in a humorous and heartwarming way. It was refreshing to see Stockdale in a softer role with toned back, but still lovely, vocals. We cannot forget the sassiest character of them all, Little Red Riding Hood, played by sophomore M.T. Rebecca Skowron. Every line had me in stitches.
Though the female cast really took the lead, the men were not far behind. From previous main stage productions, I never was 100 percent wowed by Senior M.T. Nicholas Carroll, the baker. This show just changed that. I am now a major Carroll fan because of his touching performance. His chemistry with scene partner, Stockdale, was the strongest in the show. The true selling moment for me though was actually in the song “No One is Alone” between him and Jack, played by Senior M.T. Avery Sobczak. Also being a strong male lead was Sophomore M.T. Adam James King. His voice, speaking and singing, was soothing and suave—everything a Prince Charming should be.
The tree spirits also added great value to the performance. They reminded me of the fairytale version of minions with their goofy demeanor.
I really enjoyed the show, and though each individual actor on stage gave life and energy to their own performances, it lacked an overall ensemble chemistry and cohesiveness. Maybe this feeling of disjointedness was partly caused by the large set, mostly comprised of bare trees and ramps. The set was beautiful and definitely added to the magic in some scenes, but made the stage feel cluttered for group numbers—as if actors were more focused on getting to a predetermined mark rather than being 100 percent on interacting with each other. Or maybe it was opening night nervousness? To clarify, it was only in group numbers where I felt a disconnect with the cast; scenes with fewer actors had some of the best chemistry on stage I have seen in a while through main stage.
Lighting and costumes were fantastic, making the magic seem that much more real. Sound was a little off, but that is always something to be expected on opening night. The
orchestra captured all the sounds you would expect in a fairytale or a dark wood, creating magic music that complimented the actors and storyline well.
The musical is a lengthy three hours, but the cast will enchant you so the time flies by. I would highly recommend seeing this charming musical.
Tickets range from $5.50 to $11. Performances will run in the Hoerner Theater in Dillingham Center on Nov. 8-10 at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Nov. 9-10.
By Meagan McGinnes