Go ‘Into the Woods’ with the AKT Theatre Company in Wyandotte

Photo by Sue Suchyta

The AKT Theatre Project in Wyandotte will present the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical, “Into the Woods” at the Wyandotte Arts Center, 81 Chestnut St. at 7 p.m. Aug. 3, 4, 10 and 11, with a 2 p.m. Aug. 5 Sunday matinee.

For tickets or more information call 734-258-8370 or go to www.AKTtheatre.com.

The fairytale-themed musical follows what can happen when wishes come true as well as the consequences of happily ever after.

Artistic director and founder Angie Kane Ferrante, 27, of Wyandotte is directing the cast of 20 local actors in a “melting pot” of familiar stories, including Little Red Riding Hood, the Baker and his wife, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

“All the messages that they share are kind of brought into one story,” Ferrante said. “And it’s very fantastical, which is a little bit different than what we’ve done this past year so I thought it was a good time to do ‘Into the Woods.’”

Most of the characters get what they want by the end of Act I, and then in the beginning of Act II the characters start to find out that getting these things is not what they thought it would be, Ferrante said.

“It’s the whole idea of ‘I wish,’” Ferrante said. “‘If I get what I want my life will be complete,’ but then they find that maybe that isn’t what I needed to make me happy, so then they go back into the woods to figure out what it is that is going to make them happy, and then all these unexpected things start happening to them.”

She said that even though they are fairy tale characters they are real people who experience wants and needs, like what it is to want what their neighbor possesses.

“I think we can all relate to wanting something, getting it and then feeling that wasn’t really it,” Ferrante said.

She added that the closeness of those in the house to the actors in the venue has the advantage of putting the audience “into the woods” with the characters instead of being separated by a typical proscenium stage.

One of those characters, Cinderella’s prince, played by Brian Welch, 37, of Dearborn, said the show is not your typical fairy tale where everything is happily-ever-after at the end.

“The point is wishes come true, not free,” Welch said. “When you get what you want there’s always a price… whether good or bad. If you win, someone loses.”

Brad Miller, 26, of Wyandotte, who plays Rapunzel’s prince, tells potential show attendees that it has all the fairy tales they grew up with juxtaposed together but with adult themes, and they are not the same old stories that they grew up hearing.

“You have the almost erotic association between the Wolf and Little Red,” Miller said. “You have the untrue nature of the princes. You have the baker who really is ignoring his wife and not really working as a team and everybody kind of learns the error of their ways as the show goes along,” Miller said. “But it’s a more adult version of stories that you’re very, very familiar with.”

Leah Paige Cooley, 42, of Lincoln Park, plays the witch, whose character is powerful and changeable.

As she develops her character, she is determining whether the witch actually loves her daughter Rapunzel or just loves being needed.

“There are all these multiple layers,” Cooley said. “She is definitely like this onion that we want to peel back and feel all the different layers.”

She said that the witch’s strong personality makes it inevitable that she will take over a leadership role as the play progresses.

“I do believe that strong people … when they are in a situation where there is no leadership will naturally take over because they can’t stand chaos,” Cooley said. “Which is odd, considering she’s done nothing but create chaos throughout her life. But strong people will automatically step in to take over the role of leader.”

She said she tells people unfamiliar with the musical that it gives the audience a chance to learn more about the fairy tale characters than they did before.

“You get to explore a little bit of what the real story is in this telling of it,” Cooley said. “Fairy tales are really hot right now in media across the board, so this is the right show at the right time.”

Lindel Salow of Dearborn, who plays the narrator, also encourages friends to see the show because it gives audiences a chance to see what happens beyond “and they lived happily ever after.”

“It shows the other side of the story,” Salow said. “Be careful what you wish for because it just might come true.”

Musical director Chris Chavez Jr. said the challenge in this Sondheim musical is that (the music) is very fast and (the lyrics) must be clearly articulated.

“It is fun music and these actors are doing great,” Chavez said. “I couldn’t be happier with the cast that we have.”

The cast includes Wyandotte residents Sheryl Noble as Jack’s mother; Sarah Noble, 17, as Cinderella; Jeremy St. Martin, 32, as the Baker; Jean Pilon, 56, as Granny and the giant; Kayla Smith, 17, as Florinda, a stepsister; Brad Miller, 26, as Rapunzel’s prince; and Gerald Hymer, 15, as Milky White.

Dearborn residents in the cast include Lindel Salow as the narrator; Brian Welch, 37, as Cinderella’s prince; and Matthew Miazgowicz, 20, as Jack.

Lincoln Park residents in the cast include Sarah Mikota, 16, as Little Red Riding Hood and Leah Paige Cooley, 42, as the witch, with Southgate resident Meg McCormick, 33, as the Baker’s wife, and Jordan Fritz, 20, of River Rouge as the steward.

Trenton residents in the cast include Rob Eagel, 59, as the Mysterious Man; Michael Clemons, 38, as Cinderella’s father; and Jamie Clemons, 29, as Cinderella’s stepmother.
Others in the cast include Don Corbin, 29, of Allen Park as the Wolf; Mindy Padlo, 18, of Dearborn Heights as Lucinda, a stepsister; and Dara Pardon, 18, of Brownstown as Rapunzel.

The Wyandotte Community Theatre will present the “9 to 5: The Musical” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21, 22, 28 and 29 at the Wyandotte Arts Center at 81 Chestnut St.

The show features direction and choreography by Carol-Ann Black and music direction by Sarah Leonard.

Three unlikely female friends team up in the workplace to take control and change their company for the better.

The cast includes Debbie Aue-Delgado as Violet Newstead, Mellissa Smith-Lheureux as Doralee Rhodes and Jami Mullins as Judy Bernly.

Chris Chavez Sr. will play Franklin Hart Jr., with Lucinda Chavez as Roz Keith.
For tickets or more information call 734-775-9635 or go to wyandottecommunitytheatre.com.

The Henry Ford Community College Theater Department has cancelled “The Laramie Project” as its August production, and will instead offer four short comedies by Christopher Durang: “DMV tyrant,” “Wanda’s Visit,” “Women in a Playground” and “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls.”

Durang finds humor in everyday life, whether it’s a house guest who overstays their welcome, a mother at her wits end or a DMV employee who takes customer disservice to a whole new level.

“For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls” is a parody of the Tennessee’s Williams play “The Glass Menagerie.”

The Durang Festival runs at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 to 18 and Aug. 23 to 25, with 2 p.m. Aug. 19 and 26 Sunday matinees.

The shows are performed in Adray Auditorium in the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center, 5101 Evergreen Road in Dearborn.

For tickets and more information, call 313-845-9817 or contact Gerry Dzuiblinski at gadzuiblinski@hfcc.edu.