Review: 'Into the Woods' by The Theatre at TCC

Review: 'Into the Woods' by The Theatre at TCC

Nancy Sasso Janis

“Princes wait there in the world it’s true; princes yes, but wolves and humans too.”  - The Witch

Terryville, CT - The Terryville Congregational Church is lucky to have Jonathan Zalaski as the production manager and director of their shows, which are always a big undertaking. Mr. Z currently studies theatre performance at CCSU and is using every skill he has learned to produce the shows for The Theatre at TCC. And this year the director is lucky to have assembled a stellar cast to produce the ambitious Sondheim musical ‘Into the Woods.’

The TCC previously had performed in the sanctuary of their lovely church but for this year’s musical, the company moved to a large room adjacent to the church. While the move allowed for a bit more space for performers and musicians, it severely limited the number of seats for the audience. And yet, it somehow worked and certainly allowed the audience to be close enough to enjoy every movement of the outstanding actors in the cast.

Above the title are Kyle Riedinger in the role of The Baker, Kelsey Morris as his wife and Ashley McLeod as the Witch. Mr. Riedinger, a BFA Performance Major at CCSU, recently played this same role at his university, and clearly knew the role inside out; he covered well when things didn’t go exactly right. Kelsey Morris is a dancer with a slew of credits at the Warner and elsewhere; here she proved her acting ability and her light soprano served her well in her TCC debut. And as for Ms. McLeod, the singing actress who I always look forward to seeing on any stage, pulled off the role of the Witch with loads of strength. But these three are just the beginning…

David Nichols was Uncle Billy in TCC ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and here sounded smooth as the Narrator/Mysterious Man that kept popping up well, mysteriously. Kayla Mastracchio, a senior at CCSU who has had special appearances in other TCC productions, was able to shine in the role of Jack (and the Beanstalk) and truly own it.

Alexa Campagna reprised the role of Cinderella that she played in the WAMS production of ‘Into the Woods’ on the Palace Theater stage. I saw more maturity in her character in this production and I was most impressed with the quiet power of her vocal performance. Kudos to the new mom on a memorable performance. Kennedy Morris, now an eighth grader with columns of theatrical/singing credits, was amazing as always as the feisty Little Red; even more impressive is the fact that Kennedy is also in rehearsal for Blessed Sacrament School’s production of ‘The King and I’ in which she will star in the role of Anna in her final BSS show under the direction of Bob Tansley. Her musical mom Kerri served as musical director of this challenging music and also played the role of Jack’s Mother, while being the actual mother of two of the show’s stars.

Rhiannon Carta was perfect for the role of both Rapunzel and Cinderella’s Mother, and not simply because she had the perfect haircolor. I noticed a maturity to her singing voice and it was a treat to see her back on the stage. Patrick Mullen, a Waterbury native, was handsome and vapid as Cinderella’s Prince and Colin Cummings was just as good as Rapunzel’s Prince. Young Douglas Sato played a steward to the royal family and Wayne Harnish was both Cinderella’s father and Little Red’s granny. Jakob Buckley, who was Fagin in ‘Oliver’ at TCC, is now a sophomore at ECSU. He was outstanding in the role of The (hungry) Wolf; his low voice and scary stage presence was perfect for the role.

Sara Wilson, who I usually see in the chorus of a musical, stepped up to play Cinderella’s evil stepmother and did very well with her TCC debut. Jennifer Colella and Amanda Gross played her daughters, while stage manager Alannah Callahan was the voice of the Giant. Cinderella’s blackbirds were played by the adorable Alexa Harnish, Isaac Morehouse, Lilah Morehouse and Mariah J. Woo.

Mr. Zalaski got the most out of every performer and did a great job of making everything work in the small space. Holly McCann conducted the other two musicians while she played piano. Tori Campbell did a pretty impressive job with designing the lighting for this space and Joseph McCann was in charge of sound. Emily Hanson and Audrey Totire were the scenic artist, while CJ Barber and Jimmy Donohue were the set dressing team. Allison Graboski was in charge of the costumes but Ms. Carta and Emily Hanson did the hair and makeup duties.

‘Into the Woods’ (with a run time of 3 hours with a 15 minute intermission) continues next weekend June 16 and 17 at 8:00pm and June 18 at 2:00pm and seating is limited. Tickets are available online at tcc.booktix.com and in the box office at (860) 589-0182

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Nancy Sasso Janis is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and continues to contribute theatre news to local Patch.com sites. Check out her new Facebook page Nancy Sasso Janis: Theatre Reviewer and follow her on Twitter @nancysjanis417

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