The reviews are in for ‘Into the Woods’ by Mu Performing Arts

Mu Performing Arts is breaking new ground by giving classic musical theater an Asian American re-imagining.

First the theater company performed “Little Shop of Horrors” to rave reviews, and now it’s back with “Into the Woods.” According to critics this show is equally charming:

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Sara Ochs as Cinderella and Sheena Janson as the Baker’s Wife in Mu Performing Arts presentation of Into the Woods

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Ed Huyck at City Pages:

The company presents strong performances from top to bottom, led by Randy Reyes and Sheena Janson as the baker and the baker’s wife. They are really modern-day folks dropped into a fantasy environment, full of doubt and conflicts that are at first out of place amid the outsized events of the other stories, and then the main light of maturity in an increasingly dark world. Both actors embrace these complexities, crafting performances that are at turns funny, touching, and heartbreaking.

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Katie Bradley as the Witch in Mu Performing Arts presentation of “Into the Woods”

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Chris Hewitt at the Pioneer Press:

…director Rick Shiomi has given a nod to the universality of fairy tales by shifting the setting from a vaguely European one to a vaguely Asian one. And the witty design extends the idea that these stories know no time or place, with each of the tales seemingly set in a different corner of Asia — the clothes in Cinderella’s story bearing Indian influences, for instance, while China may be the Witch’s homeland. Lighting effects sometimes make the characters resemble the shadow puppets of Indonesia, while black-clad ninjas move scenery and execute the production’s simple effects.

Those subtle touches serve as a reminder of how sturdily constructed Sondheim and book writer James Lapine’s show is. Whoever we are, we share the same basic needs, and wherever we come from, there is a metaphoric “woods” where we learn that growing up is no picnic.

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Sheena Janson as the Baker’s Wife and Alex Galick as Cinderella’s Prince in Mu Performing Arts presentation of Into the Woods

Photo by Michal Daniel

From John Olive at HowWasTheShow.com:

Where did he get this cast? There isn’t a tinny note anywhere and we’re talking large (20 by my count). They sing brilliantly and they act their hearts out. I could be wrong on this but the opening night performance had the feeling of a show finally and surprisingly coming together and the actors were as amazed and delighted as we in the audience. It gave the evening an especial edge.

From Graydon Royce at the Star Tribune:

“Into the Woods” is another milestone for a company still on the rise.

“Into the Woods” runs through August 5 at Park Square Theatre in St, Paul. Have you seen Mu Performing Arts’ production? If so, what did you think?

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