'Into the Woods' is theater at its best

'Into the Woods' is theater at its best
Matt Dilyard

Kyle Yampiro plays the baker with the just-right combination of innocence and confidence.


The Ohio Light Opera's "Into the Woods" is a brilliant production. From the intriguing stage that greets the audience upon entering the theater with its ghost light burning to the skillful lighting creating an endlessly changing array of moods, "Into the Woods" is theater at its best.

Broadway-quality performances by all key players bring the unusual Sondheim musical to life with its cautionary tale to be careful what you wish for and to always remember children learn from what we say and do.

The orchestra glides seamlessly in and out of the scenes like a well-trained actor. And the sound design meshes perfectly with the beautifully crafted set to create fantastic theatrical illusions from chattering birds to the giant's footsteps.

As always it's difficult to single out performances in a company so well trained.

Hannah Holmes shows her star-power versatility, this time appearing as the witch, gliding from menacing to funny with a step or glance. Her voice commands the stage.

Kyle Yampiro, always a delight, plays the baker with the just-right combination of innocence and confidence.

The baker's wife, Tanya Roberts, really brings it home with her song, "Moments in the Woods."

Sadie Spivey as Little Red Riding Hood is an unstoppable bundle of energy, singing as she munches her sweets.

Of course "Into the Woods" depends heavily on the performance of the narrator/mysterious man. And who is better suited to the role than Ted Christopher? Clearly having the time of his life, he is the expert maestro stitching the story together.

The costumes are so perfectly tuned in to the needs of the show they almost slide out of awareness, working their magic to create and draw the audience into the story.

Aidan Smerud and Benjamin Dutton utterly captivate the audience as the princes, whether riding their invisible horses or singing about how what one has is never quite enough.

Abby Kurth and Joelle Lachance as the stepsisters are a hoot.

Cinderella, Chelsea Miller, shines as both a contented waif and a regal princess.

Brad Baron always adds his own talented touch to his myriad roles, and the wolf is no exception.

The entire cast is a true delight, and all deserve mention if space permitted. Note that some roles are double-cast.

And of course a review of "Into the Woods" would not be complete without mention of Milky White, the cow, appearing as her inanimate self.

This reviewer has previously seen several productions of the show and was never sold before on its unconventional storytelling and wisdom. The Ohio Light Opera’s spectacular production has indeed created a new "Into the Woods" fan.

If you've never seen "Into the Woods," now is the time to don hiking shoes. And if you've been wishing to see it again, that's a wish that can easily come true. After all, "Into the woods, each time you go, the more you learn of what you know."

Ohio Light Opera tickets are available online at www.ohiolightopera.org/buy-tickets/, by calling 330-263-2345 and at the box office, 329 E. University St., Wooster, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All shows are presented at Freedlander Theater on the College of Wooster campus at 303 E. University St. in Wooster.

The season ends Aug. 10.

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