Special for the Times Advocate
Sondheim’s Into the Woods is in Escondido, and not just at the Regal Theaters. The 413 Project’s rendition is now playing at the Escondido’s Center for the Arts.
A cast of 36 local stage newcomers and proven talent directed by Kali West wind through the complex tale entwining almost each and every major fairy tale into one story-line. Yes, slightly altered little bits of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and Beanstalk,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” (and more) are all there for your enjoyment.
While all the performances were commendable, several did stand out for this reviewer.
Catherine Caldwell, as the Witch, commanded the stage as a central character, with many key songs in the production. Her vocals were strong and professional, reflecting her extensive experience, including performances at the Old Globe, Welk’s Resort, and Tokyo Disneyland and alone, well worth the price of admission.
Also delightful was Caitlyn Buckwalter as the Baker’s Wife. Her musical performance too stood out clearly reflecting the talent she has used in many regional theater productions, including Mary in Mary Poppins, Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Meg in Little Women.
Other notables were 12-year old Chase Anichini, Little Red Riding Hood, Summer Blinco as Cinderella, Chelsea Robinson, Jack’s Mother (as in Jack, “Jack and the Bean Stalk”), and Altin Hamouni and Adam Daniel as the dueling Princes trying to assert who was in more agony over love than the other.
The production is peppered with good wit and moving musical numbers, including “Hello Little Girl” (The Wolf), “Agony” (the Princes), “Stay With Me,” “Moments in the Woods,” (Baker’s Wife), “Stay With Me,” “Last Midnight” and “Children Will Listen (The Witch), and “No One Is Alone,” (Ensemble).
The 413 Project was co-founded in 2012 by sisters Katie and Julie Burlington to fulfill the academic projects of several local college students. Over the last three years, the Project has put on several productions, including a stunning rendition of Les Miserables. All the actors and production staff are volunteers, donating their time and talents out of their love for theater. All proceeds go to pay the bills and keep the project going until the next production.
Into the Woods is playing at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (Studio Rooms) through June 28, 2015. Visit www.the413players.org, or like them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/the 413 Proejct for show dates and times.