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Into the Woods


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Into the Woods

Dates: 05/03/1993 - 08/05/1993

Location: Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine

presented by Sydney Theatre Company 


Narrator Simon Chilvers
Cinderella Pippa Grandison
Jack Dean Macrae
Jack's Cow Claudia di Cosmo
Baker Tony Sheldon
Baker's Wife Geraldine Turner
Cinderella's Stepmother Deborah Wells
Florinda Jenny Vuletic
Lucinda Jacqueline Linke
Jack's Mother Melissa Jaffer
Little Red Ridinghood Sharon Millerchip
Witch Judi Connelli
Cinderella's Father Tony Morgan
Cinderella's Mother Susane Towers
Wolf Philip Wuast
Rapunzel Leonie Cambage
Rapunzel's Prince DJ Foster
Granny Sussane Towers
Cinderella's Prince Philip Quast
Steward John Simpson
Snow White Jenny Vuletic
Director Wayne Harrison
Musical Director Brian Stacey
Set Design John Senczuk
Costume Design Angus Strathie
Lighting Roger Barratt
Assistant director Grace Barnes


In 1994 the STC production of Into the Woods scooped 5 Mo Awards:
        Musical Theatre Production of the Year;
        Male Musical Theatrical Performer & "Kevin Jacobsen" Theatrical Performer: Philip Quast;
        Female Musical Theatrical Performer: Judi Connelli;
        Supporting Musical Theatrical Performer: Sharon Millerchip.


It Takes Two (Live), Geraldine Turner & Tony Sheldon

Footage of live performance with Australian cast [including Jenny Vuletic plus comment from director Wayne Harrison and designer Angus Strathie] held in University of New England, Stage on Screen Collection.



"STC kills the giant - and creates a hit Into the Woods"
At last the Sydney Theatre Company has killed the giant! After what seemed like weeks of having its complex set machinery stomped on by his massive, malign foot, and the glottises of its singers pulverized by his fingers, the STC has smeared pitch in his path and sent its songbirds to pluck out his eyes. What songbirds they are too! The cast not only sing, they also act convincingly. In Angus Strathie's imaginative and detailed costumes they beat out Mr Sondheim's erudite rhythms on John Senczuk's formerly cursed set. The lifting of that particular curse blows the stage floor to approximate the double helix of the newly-opened carpark. Technology has either triumphed or been overcome, depending on your viewpoint. … Wayne Harrison's production is a triumph, at whatever mechanical, psychological and financial cost. … Brian Stacey's orchestra accompanies with miraculous feeling for the singers' needs, from an unlikely perch high above and behind the wondrous double-raked revolve, which give the impression that if its revolutions speeded up, they would provide a crazy fun fair in their own right. That's what a fine production of this musical should do - send the critic into a phantasmagoria that spins off from the stimulating fun and insight of the show itself.
     Ken Healey The Sun-Herald

"Hit and Myth in Light, Dark World"
Like the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, which provide the raw material for Into the Woods there is much in this musical that is magical and entrancing. There is also much that is deep, dark and ominous so that it evokes both pity and joy, laughter and tears. Sondheim has a reputation for a being a difficult composer, a writer of labyrinthian lyrics hitched to jerky stop-start scores. What is true for the characters in this musical is also true for this production by the Sydney Theatre Company. Into the Woods is a massive quest that sometimes must have seemed cursed with technical difficulties and illness. To the great credit of Wayne Harrison, his associate director and choreographer, Tony Bartuccio, and the musical director, Brian Stacey, they conjure up some enormously satisfying aspects to this production. First among them is John Senczuk's set design based on the tilted twin-revolves turning one within the other. As these turn they create an eerily shifting landscape where nothing is quite as it seems and anything can happen; a gloom where gnarled trees contain coffins and striking clocks; where princes can pursue damsels to their fickle hearts' content; and where a baker and his wife can assemble the ingredient's to a spell that will reverse a mother's curse upon her daughter and she, in her turn, will lift her spell on them and their family. … I would not have missed this musical for the world. It is so good to see it and hear it because it has the power to sweep you up into its magical world which has so much to say to our everyday experience.
   Bob Evans The Sydney Morning Herald

"Technological problems finally surmounted"
Rightfull, the Sydney Theatre Company production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into ihe Woods, which made its debut at the Sydney Opera House in mid-March, is doing a roaring trade. Immense technological problems with the complicated revolve a small circular area within two independant concentric rings cancelled scene previews and forced a delay the scheduled premiere. But by the time I saw it, on Tuesday, March 23, shortly after opening. it was as slick a piece of stagecraft as I have encountered in many a moon, and more than musically proficent enough, under the idiomatc and energetic baton of Brian Stacey, to satisfy all but the most narrowly one-eyed opera devotee. In comprison, the first airing of the piece in this country, a television version emanating from New York, was much less satisfying. Despite the difficulties obviously encountered in making it work in the first place the Bennolong Point Drama Theatre is an acknowledged technological nightmare for any large scale production due to its minimal backstage area to which access is severely limited. John Senczuk's set design works superbly, facilitating the sort of exemplary flow of the action from scene to scene which is so vital to the successful staging of any musical. The presentation of the giantess fated to be slain by Jack of beanstalk fame is a positive master stroke, first as an enormous pair of cardboard cutout legs and feet descending not quite to the knees from above the proscenium arch to crush those who are required to be crushed later in the form of bloodied face toppling onto the OP side of the stage. … Like the forest of Hansel and Gretel, these woods symbolise the unknown both fanciful, friendly and not so nice, and the great achievement of Wayne Harrison's production for the STC is that it manages to make manifest the deeper built in meanings of the piece more effectively and clearly than did the TV production. In comparison it is much more full blooded obvious, if you like, but in the best sense, clear, rather than pussyfooting around the point. It deserves every bit of the considerable success at the box office, which brought Standing Room Only signs almost from the word go.

I've met many hard-core Sondheim fans but I am not one of their number. However, the current production of Into the Woods in the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House may well signal my conversion. It's marvellous, and boasts as fine a cast as could be fielded for this musical anywhere in the world. Geraldine Turner gets top billing and she's darned good but for my money Judy Connelli, Philip Quast and Sharon Millerchip gallop off with the evening's honours. All three are magnificent. I am always cautious about urging a show on readers but in this case I have no hesitation. A contingent of Germans, 250 passengers from the luxury cruise liner Europa, were in the audience last Monday and despite the difficulty they must have had comprehending Sondheim's intricate lyrics, they appeared to enjoy it every bit as much as the locals. Whatever you do, don't miss it.
Bob, Evans Sydney Morning Herald
Brian Hoad, The Bulletin, 6 April 1993
Frank Gauntlett, Daily Telegraph-Mirror, 27 march 1993
Jeremy Eccles, The Sydney Review, April 1993
Ken Healey, Sun Herald, 28 March 1993
Ken Longworth, Newcastle Herald, 18 March 1983
Paul Le Petit, Sunday Telegraph, 21 March 1993
Rosemary Neill, The Australian, 24 March, 1993
Stephen Dunne, Sydney Star Observer, 2 April 1993