It was a magical night for all those attending the Opening Night for the new Daniel and Belle Fangmeyer Theatre. And it all started with the HARMONS' DEN BISTRO offering dinner before the theatre. Christy L. Bishop, Head Chef for Hart, and her staff rolled out the red carpet with delicious food ranging from Soup du Jour to tasty desserts all themed around Broadway Shows. Entrees included Seasons of Love: a Lavender Roasted Chicken Breast with a Lemon Cream Sauce. Pygmalion: Sorghum Glazed Pork Ribeye with Orange - Rosemary Gremolata. Dames At Sea: Steamed Mussels with Choice of Sauce. Prospero's Palette: Mushroom Ravioli with Sauteed Spinach, Feta Pecans and Browned Butter. Lend Me A Tender: Coffee and Smoked Paprika Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Espresso Demi-Glace and much more including This a Breast I See Before Me?: Seared Duck Breast with Fig and Red Wine Sauce. Adding a glass or two of wine made this dining experience one to remember. Congratulations Christy! A job well done!
It is suggested that you make reservations early if you plan to dine at the Bistro prior the theatre production.
Tabitha Judy, enthralled everyone as Cinderella. Her georgeous voice filled the theatre and her comic antics were an absolute delight.
The Musical was Directed by Daniel Hensley and he certainly molded the actors and made them ready to take you on a stroll with all of your favorite fairy tale characters. His unique staging brought out the strengths of this multi functional theatre, combining theatre in the round with traditional proscenium theatre. I can't imagine any Director doing a better job!
And then we have THE WITCH, played by Kristen Hedberg! She is nasty, mean, casting spells and has an operatic voice to top it off. She has a commanding appearance and knows how to hold an audience.
Rapunzel played by Candice Owen, let her hair down according to the Brothers Grimm captivated us with her voice and Rapunzel's prince played by the dashing David Yeates
brought romance and spice to life with added comedy to his role. Rod Leigh was Cinderella's Prince and ended up with those kisses in the woods. There duet "Agony" was another highlight!
Special thanks to Harmony Canaday who performed in the Ensemble and worked Stage Crew and Beth Carpenter for Costumes Hair/Make-up/ Props working with Sally Inglesby-Schaefew and Anna Nicole Mathis.
And then there is the story of Cinderella, Cinderella's Step Mother, Cinderella's Father and the two step Sisters. That combination combined weaved its way through the plot of the play. Lyn Donley, the most well known person in HART Theatre, played Cinderella's Step Mother. She was perfectly cast and with her talents and facial expressions, she kept the audience aware that she was the Matriarch of that family. The two Step Sisters, Lucinda and Florinda, played by Holly Caldwell and Jessica Garland were hysterical! Every time they came on stage, they brought their comedy flair to the performance. Tom Dewees was delightful as the tipsy Step Father.
After our Bistro experience we made our way to our reserved seats and at that moment the new theatre was born; i.e., the lights dimmed , the music started and the Narrator, played by John Highsmith, giving us the hint that this production was going to be quite an adventure when he said' "Once Upon a Time!" At that point one of the most talented casts strolled upon the stage and started to sing "INTO THE WOODS!"
"INTO THE WOODS" REVIEW
Sarah, Sarah, SARAH FOWLER! Your "Orchestra" was a treat to the ears of those in attendance, brilliant and blending to each and every voice. You and your keyboard are a blessing to us all. The Flute/Reeds by Misty Theisen and Percussion by David Bruce gave fullness with many orchestra sounds that truly gave us a Carnegie Hall performance! Putting you and Daniel together really gave us a show, only added to by Misty and David!
Cinderella's Mother and the Voice of the Giant was played by Trissa King. Granny and Snow White was played by Sarah Conklin. The Non-White cow was Rachael Swanson and Holly Cope was Sleeping Beauty and part of the Ensemble. Each one did an excellent job!
One highlight in the show was when the Baker and the Mysterious Man, played by Stephen A. Gonya, meet in the woods where the Baker encounters his feelings of despair and desperation. With the song "No More", you will find yourself understanding the Baker's doubts and how he comes to the conclusion "No one is alone!"
"INTO THE WOODS",
a musical by Stephen Sondheim
opens the new
DANIEL AND BELLE FANGMEYER'S THEATREat Hart Theatre in
Waynesville, North Carolina!
Now there is the Baker and the Baker's wife according to the story who are childless and begin their quest to start a family. They also have their dealings with a witch who has placed a curse on them. and as the play goes on they have various interactions with other storybook characters during their journey.
Charles Mills is exceptional as the Baker. His performance brings his talent to high standards and his vocals are clean and demanding. As he weaves himself around the stage and through all the difficult circumstances, he creates a warm and caring character that carries itself throughout the play. And then there is Emily Warren, as the Baker's Wife! What can I say other than she is loved by the audience, her vocals are delightful and she is obviously a decent wife who accidentally meets a Prince in the woods and romantically lays one or two kisses on him! Together Charles and Emily were show stoppers.
Other Cast members that receive KUDOS for their performances are Mike Yow, a tremendous actor who never stops working and played the part of Steward in " INTO THE WOODS" and Karen Covington-Yow who played Jack's Mother! Her potrayal runs the gamut of emotions, from her zaniness when she comes face to face with the Prince to the love and concern she has for her only son. And as always her vocals are spot on.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION PICTURES AND AFTER PARTY PICTURES WILL FOLLOW LATER!
Congratulations to Isaac Fulk, Stage Manager / Vocal Coach ( who is also a brilliant pianist ) and his Assistants, Archer Faust and Rachel Swanson. Lighting was Operated by Jim Thompson and Set and Lighting Design was by Daniel Hensley, Tom Dewees and Steve Lloyd.
Pictured: L-R Judy Dybwad, Yours truly, Wanda Taylor and Bruce Donley
The Main Characters of "INTO THE WOODS" are taken from many fairy tales. Little Riding Hood, played by Heather Nicole Bronson, who was making her debut at HART, was a breathe of fresh air as she sang and danced her way around the stage in the red cape and beautiful red hair captivating the audience with her lovely voice. Jack and the Beanstalk, was played by one of the most popular stars of the many stages in Western North Carolina, Dwight Chiles. His song in Act One, "Giants In The Sky" is a highlight in the show and a show stopper. From the famous "beans" to the comedy of the Cow (Milky White), played by Strother Stingley, another actor who works in theatre constantly, these two were exceptional together. Strother also played the Wolf adding another great performance to his resume.