by Katie Woodzick
I was introduced to musicals from an early age. We didn’t have a television in our apartment in the suburbs of Madison, but we would borrow my father’s TV/VCR combo from neighboring Milwaukee whenever I was sick.
My mother picked out a handful of VHS tapes to entertain me while I stayed home from school with the chicken pox when I was seven. I started grabbing for the Disney movies, but she stopped me.
“Why don’t you try this one first?” She held up a copy of Yankee Doodle Dandy, staring James Cagney.
“Aw, Mom, it’s in black and white. It’s gonna be SO boring!” I whined.
“How about this: just try watching the first ten minutes. If you don’t like it, you can pick another movie.”
I begrudgingly agreed to the bargain, and a life-long love of musicals was born.
I would go over to my neighbor’s house after school and spread Cheez Whiz on Ritz Crackers and watch Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse sing and dance their way across her television screen.
I first experienced the work of Stephen Sondheim through the film of musical West Side Story. I would watch it on a seemingly endless loop when I visited my grandparent’s house. I danced through the olive green tiled kitchen snapping my fingers and singing, “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way!”
The first time I saw Into the Woods, I was twelve years old. I was mesmerized by the music and the storyline. I was amazed that a musical could transition so quickly from being hilarious to heart-wrenching.
I was (and still am) big fan of Weird Al Yankovic, and was struck by the similarities between the way he would take a song that everybody knew and alter it to make it more entertaining. Into the Woods takes fairy tales that everyone knows, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, and tells them in a different manner, making them intersect.
Act One follows the characters through the arc of the story with which people are familiar. Jack slays the giant, Cinderella gets her prince, etc…But Act Two goes further in imagining what happens after each of the characters respective “Happily ever afters.”
Currently, we are in our fifth week of rehearsal. Our director, Rob Prosch, is teaching us our music with the assistance of Jess Monett, our accompanist. The score has over sixty-five musical numbers.
Many of us participate in community theatre because it feels like family, like home. The rehearsal room is a place where it is safe to try and fail: a place to be held by castmates, the stage manager and the director. And, finally, after weeks of putting it all together, it’s ready to share with you, the audience.
We’re so glad you’re part of our theatrical family as well.
Katie Woodzick is an actor, director, writer and feminist who lives on Whidbey Island. By day, she can be found working for Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. By night, she can be found rehearsing at local theatres, writing for Whidbey Life Magazine and singing karaoke. Learn more at katiewoodzick.squarespace.com and woodzickwrites.wordpress.com
Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is directed by Robert W. Prosch. It runs October 10-25. Visit the event page for more information.