APTOS—Janie Scott, Director and Choreographer of Cabrillo Stage’s latest theater musical “Into the Woods,” admits she is a bit of a geek for Stephen Sondheim.
“I love everything he’s created,” Scott said of the American composer and lyricist. “He’s an incredible artist—a genius.”
Scott’s opinion carries weight. She worked alongside Sondheim briefly in New York in the early 1980s on his then-new production “Merrily We Roll Along.”
“That experience was my foundation for so many things,” said Scott, who began her career as a performer and gradually moved to directing. “It had a big impact on me.”
Cabrillo Stage’s “Into the Woods” opens Friday at the Crocker Theater in Aptos and will run through Aug. 18.
The musical weaves together several well-known fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella” and more. The play takes these classics and then asks: “What are the consequences of all those wishes and quests? And what happens after the ‘Happily Ever After?’”
“It’s a morality tale,” Scott explained. “It asks a lot of important questions about life, family and having good role models.”
Putting together a production of “Into the Woods” is no simple task, Scott said, which is why it was so important to find the right group of people to work with.
Thankfully, a casting call for a Stephen Sondheim musical tends to attract plenty of talent.
“This play has been on the bucket list of most actors I’ve known,” Scott said. “Everyone wants to do it. People have come out of the woodwork to try out.”
Janie Scott is Director and Choreographer for Cabrillo Stage’s “Into the Woods,” opening Friday night. (Photo by Jana Marcus)
Scott also highlighted the orchestra, in particular Musical Director Daniel Goldsmith, who she has worked with a lot over the years.
This will be Goldsmith’s first time as Musical Director with Cabrillo Stage, though he has worked with the company since the early 2000s.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Goldsmith said. “Working on Sondheim is unlike anything else. It’s a completely different beast—every song is an entirely new concept, and you have to approach each one anew. It takes a lot of preparation.”
Goldsmith praised Sondheim’s ability to intertwine the story’s message into the music itself.
“When Little Red Riding Hood is skipping down the road—you can actually hear that in the score,” he explained. “When the witch arrives, the notes are dissonant and menacing. You actually feel the music.”
Scott said that the cast and crew are feeling confident going into their first shows.
“We have a great team,” Scott said. “Everyone is willing to try new things, and I’ve worked hard to gain their trust as a director, which is incredibly important. I think we’re in a really good place.”
“Into the Woods” takes a dark, often sinister spin on stories that many Western audiences know as pure fantasy. But for Scott, the ending remains hopeful.
“It shows us what our life can be,” she said. “It takes guts, going out of your comfort zone, out into those unknown woods… but who knows what is ahead? Something great could be around the next bend.”
“Into the Woods” will run until Aug. 18 at the Crocker Theater, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos, in Cabrillo College’s lower campus. Evening performances are held Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Shows on Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 17 at 2 p.m. are also scheduled. To order tickets and for information visit cabrillostage.com.