INTO THE WOODS Enchants at Young Stars Theatre

South Pasadena’s resident youth theatre company, Young Stars Theatre, stages Into The Woods Jr. at Fremont Centre Theatre through May 27

PHOTO: Young Stars Theatre | | Grace Dennis as the witch, George Dalton as the Baker and Ridley Downs as the Baker's Wife in Into The Woods on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre

The talented company at Young Stars Theatre is currently tackling Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony award winning musical Into The Woods, on stage at the beautiful Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. And tackle it they do. It’s a challenging score to say the least but somehow the purity of the message comes through in a powerful way in this Jr. version. It is indeed fun for the whole family as the Jr. version cuts out the darkness of the second act, sticking primarily to all the fun of the various fairy tales all running into each other in the woods to hilarious effect.

PHOTO: Young Stars Theatre | | Sophia Corral, Harrison Tang, Lucy Fossa, Ava Broneer, and Paul Zenas star in Into The Woods now on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre

An ugly, old witch has placed a spell on the baker and his wife that his “family tree would be a barren one” but gives them a way to reverse it by sending them into the woods to find a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. They have three days and guess who they run into to find these items? Therein lies the absolute fun of this show; the glorious mash-up of Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, throw in a baker, his wife, a couple of arrogant princes, a witch and a mysterious man and it all comes together in a whole new way. It’s extremely funny and surprisingly heartfelt.

PHOTO: Young Stars Theatre | | Diego Rodriguez and Gabe Michlin star as the princes in Into The Woods at Fremont Centre Theatre

Jack Wisinski, Gabe Michlin, and Diego Rodriguez play the handsome princes with the perfect amount of charm and ego while Lucy Fossa is winsome and Ellia White captivates as Cinderella. Grace Dennis crackles and cackles as the witch while Sorsha Khitikian gives the witch a menacing intensity. Harrison Tang is full of hope and mischief as Jack and Levi Srebalus gives the boy a wide-eyed optimism. Both commit totally to their friendship with Milky White, played by Max Campbell and Zoe Keller, who easily gets the biggest laugh of the night!

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PHOTO: Young Stars Theatre | | Ava Broneer as the Baker’s Wife and Lucy Fossa as Cinderella in Into The Woods at Fremont Centre Theatre

Little Red Riding Hood is cheekily played by Sophia Corral and Aisling de Villa who both shine in “I know Things Now”. Paul Zenas is delightful as the Baker and has terrific chemistry with Ava Broneer who brings her tremendous vocals to the Baker’s Wife. George Dalton gives a mature, thoughtful performance as the “Trees Cast” Baker and Ridley Downs is tough as nails as his wife. “It Takes Two” is one of the highlights as the couple realizes that they are stronger when they pursue their passion together.

PHOTO: Young Stars Theatre | | Ellia White as Cinderella in YST’s Into The Woods at Fremont Centre Theatre

This is a thoroughly enchanting evening spent lost in the woods where treasures are lost and found, relationships tested, secrets revealed, and dreams reimagined. The cast is beautifully rounded out by Veronica Koutsky and Jackie Eubank as Narrator, Annie Sawran and Corwin Daley as Wolf, Asha Quibilan and Anastasia Papadopolous as Jack’s mother, Mayumi Quibilan and Issa Lulla as Rapunzel, Gianna Lucio and Gwyneth Daley as Cinderella’s stepmother, Victoria Field and Olympia Papadopolous as Florinda, Sienna Lucio and Kyla De Villa as Lucinda, Keira Conneen and Griffin Downs as Steward,  and Carolyn Mottern and Rowan Farley as Cinderella’s mother & Granny.

Into The Woods is now playing at Fremont Centre Theatre every weekend through May 27. Tickets at  Located at 1000 Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena.

Fridays  May 11, 18 & 25 @ 7pm, Saturdays  May 12, 19 & 26 @ 7pm, Sundays  May 6, 13, 20 & 27 @ 2pm & 6pm. Tickets $25