Starring in the ACTS production of “Into the Woods” are, from left, Chad Reeves (Cinderella’s prince), Emmie Lancon (Cinderella), Markie Spears (Little Red Riding Hood), Michael Muffuletto (narrator) and Kristine Lopez (Nwymph and Granny). (Karen Wink / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, May 25, 2012 2:54 PM
Although fairy tales are traditionally thought of as teaching stories for children, Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Into the Woods,” targets adults, said a local stage director.
Opening night of the ACTS production of “Into the Woods” is Friday, June 1, at One Reid Street Theater. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, June 1-3 and 8-10.
“The story is unique in that it uses Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters — Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and so on — in such a way that adults will see how the stories are lessons in life,” director Damien Thibodeaux said.
The traditional tales are interwoven with an original story of the Baker and Baker’s Wife.
“For example, Cinderella wants to go to the ball, meet the prince and fall in love, but she finds it is not as she expected,” he said.
“Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother warns here not to get off the trail through the woods, but she doesn’t heed the advice and she and her grandmother get eaten by the Big Bad Wolf.
“It is beautifully written by Steven Sondheim,” Thibodeaux said, “and we have a great group in the cast. Many of them are experienced, and some have never been on stage before.”
“Collectively, when they all sing together, they sound phenomenal,” he said.
Thibodeaux, making his ACTS directorial debut, is a Lake Charles native and a graduate of LaGrange High School. He was named Best Actor of 1983 and 1984 by the Louisiana High School Speech and Drama League. His first experience in ACTS was in 1983 in his first musical role in “Fiddler on the Roof.” He was last seen on the ACTS stage in “Beauty and the Beast” in 2009.
He received full scholarships to the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Ill., and the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City.
He wrote and choreographed a one-man dance play, “Tutu,” which he performed in Boston, Providence, R.I., and off Broadway in New York.
A danseur with The Ballet Theater of Boston, Empire State Ballet and Metropolitan Ballet, Thibodeaux has danced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Palace Theater on Broadway and Peacock Theater in London.
During the last six years of his dance career he also worked at gyms, and upon his retirement as a dancer took up exercise as a second career.
“It was an easy transition from dance to exercise work,” he said. He has been a certified fitness trainer, exercise specialist in dance medicine and group exercise coordinator.
Since returning to his hometown for family reasons, he has led workshops for the Southwest Louisiana Women’s Conference and taught and choreographed for Karen Ogden School of Dance and Sarah Jones Ballet School. He has studied for a bachelor’s degree in theology.
“Into the Woods” opened in 1987, and the Broadway production won a number of Tony Awards, including Best Book, Best Score and Best Actress.
ACTS veterans in the cast are Michael Muffuletto, narrator; Kelly Rowland, Baker’s Wife; Hailey Coburn, Witch; Shane Taylor, Baker; Kris Perez Webster, Cinderella’s Stepmother; Anne Veillon, Lucinda; Clay Hebert, Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince; Justin Crutcher, Steward and Roller Nymph; and Katy Credeur, Cinderella’s Mother, Sleeping Beauty and Nymph.
Newcomers to the ACTS stage are Bryce Louviere, Jack; Michelle Gabbart, Florinda; Robin Prejean, Jack’s Mother; Emmie Lancon, Cinderella; Markie Spears, Little Red Riding Hood; Emma Looney, Rapunzel; Paula Dejean, Snow White and Nymph; Chad Reeves, Rapunzel’s Prince; Kristine Lopez, Granny and Nymph, and Noni Ewing Shearman, Giantess.
Betsy Doucet and Michael Ieyoub are producers. Mark Broussard is music director. Other members of the production crew are Betsy Doucet, Anjo Elsbury, Mike Ieyoub, Rebecca Pack and Andrew Toups, casting; Aimee Boudreaux and Stacey Solak, running; Bob Jines and Walt Kiser, set design and construction; Anjo Elsbury and Tracy LeMieux, scenic painting; Matt Dye, lighting design; Robert Goldman and Dickey Jines, spotlights; Anjo Elsbury, sound execution; Carolyn Boudreaux, costume execution; Betsy Doucet and Diane Flatt, prop collection; Cory Tarver, poster design; Kris Perez Webster, program design and layout; and Betsy Doucet, publicity.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. They can be purchased by calling ACTS Theater at 433-2287, online at www.actstheatre.com or at the Civic Center box office, Lakeshore Medic Pharmacy or Moss Bluff Florist & Gifts.