Saturday, November 17, 2007

Agony and Into the Woods

For brief periods of my life, I've been rather heavily involved in the theater, typically backstage. The major period remains back in high school where I worked on close to some 30-40 productions as well as attended theater camps at the University of Texas and worked a summer for the New Jersey June Opera Festival.

My high school was sandwiched in a town between Trenton and Princeton, NJ, which put us about an hour away from both NYC and Philly, and so the school would periodically run arts-related field trips such as excursions to the Met or Broadway. Stephen Sondheim had opened a new musical in 1987 on Broadway starring Bernadette Peters called "Into the Woods". In case you aren't familiar with it, it takes traditional fairy tales, mostly Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Ridinghood, weaves them together in the first act, and then explores the (dark) aftermath of the stories in the second act. Being a theater guy at the time, my friends and I jumped on the trip to see the show.

I probably had my life's greatest weird coincidence during the show. I walked out into the lobby during intermission and suddenly I hear this voice saying, "Paca! Paca?!" to me. And I turn around to find my uncle and grandmother who lived in Austin and Houston, TX, respectively standing there. My uncle for years ran arts program for the U of Texas all around the world, and he just happened to be leading one that very weekend to New York and just happened to be attending the very same show the very same night as me. Very weird. We spoke through intermission and then I was wisked back to school and didn't see them again until Xmas or something.

Anyway, I do enjoy the show, so below I have two videos for you. These are the 1987 Broadway Cast and so you can pretend we run into each other in the lobby after watching them. Both clips star the shows two princes. The dark haired one is Cinderella's prince and the blonde one is Rapunzel's prince. In the terms of 2007, they are playas. Cinderella's prince pursues Cinderella in the first act, as well as the Baker's Wife, and then goes after Sleeping Beauty in the second. It's also traditional to have the same actor play the role of the wolf for Little Red Riding Hood and we know what the subtext for that story is. The princes are charming, dashing, completely smitten with themselves, and funny.

Here they are in the first act when chasing their maidens du jour, Cinderelle and Rapunzel.

And this second video is the reprise in the second act when both have gotten bored with this marriage and commitment thing and are wondering about those other babes, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

I don't think all of the show is on YouTube, but if you'd like to see how the show begins, follow this link and then this one.

Later in college, I actually tried out for Cinderella's Prince. Let's just say, I didn't get.

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