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Draper Historic Theatre brings magic to fairy tales

Oct 28, 2016 08:52AM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

Into the Woods: The baker’s wish to have a child is just one of the motivations behind “Into the Woods.” (Rocketsalt Photography)

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com



Draper, Utah - The Draper Historic Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” shows there’s more to fairy tales after happily ever after. The show, which ran every weekend in October, tells the reimagined stories of famous fairy tales including Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. 

According to Holly Anderson, the director of the show, the Draper Historic Theatre was originally planning on doing “The Addams Family” for its October production. However, other nearby theaters were also doing the show, including the Draper Arts Council and Midvale Main Street Theatre. Anderson originally wanted to audition for the show but after talking to Marc Navez, one of the main directors of the Draper Historic Theatre, it was realized it would be a good show for Anderson to direct. 

“I love the complexity of (Stephen) Sondheim’s music. The vocalists need the musicians and the musicians need the vocalists,” Anderson said. “The characters are very deep, beyond what we read in the fairy tales. And it makes you think about your own wishes.”

The production of “Into the Woods” is different than other productions at Draper Historic Theatre because rather than a recording, live music was brought in. David Droch, a vocal teacher for many of the cast members, was the pianist, Emma Boynton, a cousin of the woman playing Little Red Riding Hood, was the violinist, and cellist Brenda Ahlemann was brought on by Droch.

Anderson explained she didn’t want to have to rely on a recording because of the complexity of the vocals in the show, which she described as walking a tightrope.

“If you get off on one section, you’re ruined for the rest of the number,” Anderson said. “Plus, live music brings an energy and a synergy to the show. You can’t deny it.”

When it came to casting the show, she was looking for actors with driving motivations and honesty in their delivery, as well as vocal and acting prowess. She also said casting the show was the hardest part of the production.

“With so much talent, there are so many directions you can go,” Anderson said. 

Anderson said she loves the way the casts plays with each other and listens to each other on stage. 

“They look like they’re having fun while still emoting the right emotions,” she said. 

Jordan Nicholes, who plays the baker, found out about the production through his wife Rachel, who also plays his wife in the show. Jordan described the baker as an “everyman.”

“He’s just an everyday guy who is trying to make it through the struggles of life,” Jordan said. 

Because Jordan doesn’t do a lot of musicals, the singing was the hardest part of putting on the show.

“It’s not my forte,” Jordan said. “But I practiced a lot and my wife helped out a lot.” 

Jordan’s favorite part of the show is the number “No More” because he believes it is really relatable to everyone. 

“Everyone has had an experience that culminates in them having to make a difficult decision,” Jordan said. 

Brodee Ripple plays Jack from the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale. Ripple heard about the production through his friend McKelle Shaw who played the role of the witch. Ripple described Jack as bright-eyed and eager to explore the world. 

“Jack has always been a dream role,” Ripple said. “I’m getting a little too old for the role so I was happy to play the part.”

In order to get into the young and innocent characterization of Jack, Ripple spent time with his nephews in order to get a child’s perspective on the world. 

The hardest part of the production for Ripple was the music.

“It’s so challenging but it’s so exciting when you do get it,” Ripple said. 

Ripple’s favorite part of the show is the song “Your Fault.”

“Everything comes to a climax. Everyone is losing it,” Ripple said. “It’s an important part of the show.

Karen Milne plays the role of Cinderella. Milne worked with Anderson during Draper Historic Theatre’s production of “Shrek”. Anderson invited Milne to come audition for “Into the Woods.”

Milne described Cinderella as a person who has been bossed around her whole life and hasn’t had to make a whole lot of decisions herself.

“She is given this opportunity through a wish and her potential situation is not ideal,” Milne said. “She’s in a constant dilemma.”

Milne agreed with her castmates that the music was the most difficult aspect of the show. 

“I studied opera but this still has such complex music and there are nuances and slight variations in the repeats,” Milne said. “But the actors are spoon-fed the characters through the music.”

To learn about the Draper Historic Theatre and future productions, visit drapertheatre.org. 

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