The Knoxville Area Community Theatre's production of the musical “Into the Woods” opens Thursday night and will continue through the weekend.
This is Nicholas Root's first time directing a K-ACT play and says that the experience has been great. His previous experience with K-ACT was as the lead in last year's production of “The Addams Family”.
Root admits that there have been challenges, as with any other show. In addition, a death in the family has caused one actor to back out. Much like in the theatrical tradition, Root adapted the way he's directing and stepped in to fill the role.
The production has been off-book (meaning the actors are supposed to know their lines) for about a month now. The cast includes principal characters, as well as a chorus.
In addition to the talented cast, Root is thankful for the help of Al Vander Linden, who led set construction. Marty and Carol Adkins are producing the show, and Shauna Shaefer is the musical director.
“We've got an excellent cast and crew,” Root said.
“Into the Woods” features a great deal of music. Root joked that writer Stephen Sondheim “hates the actors in the show,” as the script calls for about one page of dialogue and two pages of music. There may be a few pages in act two that have no music, but that would be the longest stretch without it.
The cast perfected the music first, before moving on to the lines.
Performances are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday nights at 7 p.m., at Knoxville Performing Arts Center, and then a matinee at 2 p.m. As for the audience's experience, the first act is 90 minutes long. The musical follows the original Grimm Fairy Tale story of these characters, without the “Disney-fying” them. You're likely to recognize the characters, but the stories may be different than what you are used to. Young children, under the age of five, might get bored. As for the second act of the show, the audience should be able to relate to what happens to these characters, and draw parallels to their own lives.
“Come for the fantasy, stay for the reality,” Root said.
K-ACT is able to recruit cast and crew from a wide swath of the area. Root himself lives in the Des Moines area. Cast members are Jocelyn Beaver, Jennifer Bingham, Graham Davis, Janice Davis, Jana DeZwarte, Jinni Dingel, Jonna Dingel, Rose Dino, Isaiah Finan, Michael Garrison, Charissa Hamel, Michael Howland, Kaley Iddings, Julie Laube, Annie Leonard, Greg May, Kodis Rawlings, Christopher Roozenboom, Stephanie Schneider, Spencer Ver Meer, Todd Weber, and Shannon Yocum. The ensemble includes Sydney Burns, Gracie Collins, Katelynn Collins, Zoey Kirkpatrick, Johanna Leonard, and Riley Newendorp.
Tickets for the show are $10 at the door.