Into the Woods
Through Aug. 5
Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul
Mu Performing Arts gave us a snappy production of the stage musical of the monster movie spoof, Little Shop of Horrors, last year. And this year, they plumb the musical imagination again with the fairy-tale inspired Into The Woods. Moreover, its Park Square venue signals that this is one of the biggest Mu shows ever.
Music Director Denise Prosek says, “Into The Woods is certainly Stephen Sondheim’s most accessible musical, perhaps because of the subject matter. Fairy tales are based in folklore and are children’s stories parents recite at bedtime, and Sondheim’s music has a playful quality that reflects this throughout the pieces. He has used what I call mini-motives that are the basis for the larger works, which then become a character’s theme: The Witch has an evil-sounding chord to announce her entrances. The Princes have, of course, fanfares, and Little Red has her skipping music. For Theatre Mu’s production there is a small chamber orchestra of piano, reeds, cello, and percussion, which allow the melodies to pop in ways that haven’t been heard before. It’s interesting looking at Into The Woods from an Asian perspective because the stories are so universal, and what makes this musical amazing is experiencing the transformation of the characters from archetypes into real human beings who struggle as we all do.”