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STAGE REVIEW : A Respectable 'Into Woods'

August 17, 1990|DON SHIRLEY

Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" is briefly back in the Los Angeles area, for the first time since the national tour originated at the Ahmanson. This ingenious examination of a group of fairy tales is at Pierce College's main theater, a much more intimate space (375 seats) than the Ahmanson. The company is the Soap Box Players, a community theater that's using one Equity actor.

The revival will best be appreciated by those who already have seen the show and/or listened to the album and want to refresh their memories. There are some strong, well-cast singer/actors here, especially Jeff Wallach as Jack, Darryl D. Winslow as the Baker and Fiama Fricano as the Baker's Wife. But on opening night, Roy Spicer III's orchestra overwhelmed some of the lyrics sung by the production's weaker cast members, especially in the first part of the show.

Kevin Lima cast a recent sixth-grade graduate, Suzy Ekerling, as Little Red Riding Hood, and she handles this difficult role with considerable assurance. Lima, producer Kevin Traxler and set designer Kelly Asbury all work on Walt Disney animated features, and the sets and costumes--while certainly not as sophisticated as the original company's--have a nice Disneyish look.

Three more performances at 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m. $15; (818) 241-3665.

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