OUTLOOK: ‘Into the Woods’ brings a new spin on classic tales

Published 4:00 am Sunday, July 10, 2022

With hopes of breaking a curse cast by a wicked witch, a baker and his wife follow the enchantress’s instructions and set out on a journey “Into the Woods.”

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. on July 15, the Westside Theatre Foundation will hold its opening performance of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods,” a fictional story that intertwines some of the Brothers Grimm’s most notable fairy tale characters and the wishes each is desiring.

“This is a musical about growing up and being in the world,” musical director for the production Kate Erickson said. And its message also brings to light how one should appreciate a relational community.

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“While children’s stories often have clear good and evil characters, I think what James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim are talking about and trying to bring home for the audience is that real life is all about everything in between the gray — living in the gray,” Erickson said. “Everybody has to go into woods — the world and exist there and work together to achieve the greater good for the community.”

Erickson is a Vicksburg resident and studied theater and musical theater at the University of California-San Diego.

Daniel Boone, who is one of the cast members in the musical, said Erickson became active with the WTF last year and had since expressed interest in the group performing “Into the Woods.”

With a large cast of 20 members, “Into the Woods,” Boone described, is a show that is “complex and challenging.”

“The music is hard, and it has been a challenge since we are working with pre-recorded tracks. They are unforgiving,” Boone laughed.

“But I knew we could do it,” Erickson said.

“Into the Woods” has beautiful costuming and Jack Burns, the director of the production, has provided enchanting sets and lighting.

Others who are involved in the production include Kenzie Irons, who is the assistant musical director, Ashley Dunn, production manager and Don Hill, stage manager.

Performers include Erickson, Boone, Kenzi Irons, Dunn, Crorey Lawton, Cindy Veazey, Alex Long, Andrew Cochran, Linda Hadala, Zack Erickson, Patrick Wallace, Izvistia Robertson, Jason King, Nikki Ciciora, Celeste Constancio, Mark Jourdan, Mike Bilbo, Cameron Gates, Sadie Gates, Madalyn Mouton, Renee Irons, Reba Causey and Abby Grant.

In addition to the opening performance of “Into the Woods,” shows will also be offered at 7:30 p.m. July 16, 22 and 23 and at 4 p.m. July 17 and 24 at The Strand Theatre, 717 Clay St. Advance tickets are $20 and are available at the Highway 61 Coffeehouse, 1101 Washington St. and at intothestrand.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets are $25 at the door.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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