Trisha Shepherd">

4 Life lessons from Beef and Boards’ “Into the Woods”

Normally I’d start my “Trisha’s Wishes” blog by making a wish.

This is the same way “Into the Woods” at Beef and Boards begins.

But as the characters learn, “Careful the wish you make…wishes come true, not free.”

I am a longtime fan of this extraordinary musical, where classic fairy tales collide in the woods and granted wishes lead to complicated consequences rather than happy endings. Sondheim’s chilling, gorgeous melodies shine in the ballads {“Children Will Listen,” “Stay With Me,” No One is Alone,” “No More”} and his genius as a lyricist shines in lightening-speed patter songs {“Your Fault,” “Prologue: Into the Woods.”}

Beef and Boards Into The Woods _ Indy's Child
Cinderella (Amanda Downey), left, reassures Little Red Ridinghood (Jaddy Ciucci) that “No One Is Alone” when she becomes afraid in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Now on stage through Nov. 20, this musical takes familiar fairy tale characters into the woods where they hope to make their dreams come true. But even though their immediate desires are achieved, their actions have consequences they couldn’t have foreseen in this musical recommended for audiences age 13 and over.

My mother, daughters and I thought Beef and Boards did a beautiful job with this enchanting show that includes everything we love about fairy tales, plus dark, complex twists that leave your mind spinning: witches and curses, magic beans, temptation, betrayal, greed, revenge, loss, longing, dwarfs and giants, princes and princesses, predatory wolves, and, perhaps more frightening than everything else in the woods: humans.


RELATED: Our original press release “Into the Woods at Beef and Boards”


Standouts in this strong cast included Don Farrell as the Baker {who brought me to tears with “No More” at the end of Act II}, Danny Kingston as Jack {who invites havoc into the woods by messing with giants in the sky}, Jaddy Ciucci as the super-sassy and perpetually hungry Little Red Riding Hood, Sarah Hund as the spellbinding Witch, and Amanda Downey as indecisive Cinderella, questioning what she should truly wish for. The costumes {designed by my dear friend Jill Kelly} were mesmerizing and perfect – particularly the Witch’s cape with ominous, entangled branches that glowed across the inner lining as she cast her final spell during “The Last Midnight.”

Beef and Boards Into The Woods _ Indy's Child
The Witch (Sarah Hund), right tells the Baker (Don Farrell) and his wife (Meaghan Sands) to go to the wood to get the items she needs for a potion to reverse a longstanding curse on their house in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Now on stage through Nov. 20, this musical takes familiar fairy tale characters into the woods where they hope to make their dreams come true. But even though their immediate desires are achieved, their actions have consequences they couldn’t have foreseen in this musical recommended for audiences age 13 and over.

While Into the Woods is filled with fantasy and fairy tales, I love this show because of the TRUTHS it explores. Here are four life lessons that stood out to me during this trip to the woods:

1.NO ONE IS ALONE

This idea can be interpreted many ways. Everything we do affects someone else. “You move just a finger, say the slightest word – something’s bound to linger, be heard.” And, even in our loneliest moments, when people leave us halfway through the wood, “Someone is on our side.” {But, “someone else is not.”} From whichever angle I listen, this song gets to me!

2. CHILDREN MAY NOT OBEY, BUT CHILDREN WILL LISTEN

It’s astounding what kids pick up on when you’re CERTAIN they’re ignoring you. This song cuts right to the heart of why we should be careful of the things we say and do. “Careful the spell you cast, not just on children. Sometimes the spell may last past what you can see – and turn against you.”

3. STAY A CHILD WHILE YOU CAN BE A CHILD

The witch’s plea to her daughter Rapunzel to “Stay with Me” is a gut-wrencher for any parents. Especially given today’s news headlines, I found myself pulling my girls tighter as the witch begged her daughter to stay safe in her tower, away from the dangers of the world: “Someone has to shield you from the world. Stay with me…Princes wait there in the world, it’s true. Princes, yes, but wolves and humans too. Stay at home…Stay with me the world is dark and wild. Stay a child while you can be a child…with me.” It’s a gorgeous, knife-in-the-heart song that I will never get tired of.

4. ANY MOMENT IS A “MOMENT” WHEN YOU’RE IN THE WOODS

The metaphor of going “into the woods” is probably the most fascinating part of this show to me. {I got chills when the company sang together about going “into the woods and out of the woods” in the prologue and finale!} I interpret this concept as those times in life when you’re facing the extraordinary – when time doesn’t matter, and everything you’ve expected gets turned upside down and challenged. These “moments” can be beautiful or terrible, but they’re always brilliant, clear and transformative.

Beef and Boards Into The Woods _ Indy's Child
Cinderella’s Prince (Timothy Ford), left, and Rapunzel’s Prince (Mickey Rafalski) bemoan their “Agony” with maidens in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Now on stage through Nov. 20, this musical takes familiar fairy tale characters into the woods where they hope to make their dreams come true. But even though their immediate desires are achieved, their actions have consequences they couldn’t have foreseen in this musical recommended for audiences age 13 and over.

We may never feel prepared for our trips into the woods, but “everything you learn there will help when you return there.”

“Into the woods you go again, you have to every now and then. Into the woods no telling when – be ready for the journey!”

MORE INFO: Into the Woods, recommended for guests age 13 and up, runs through November 20, 2016 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, 9301 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis. Tickets range from $41-$66 and include a dinner buffet and free parking. Visit their website or call {317} 872-9664. All photos provided with thanks to Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre!

Beef and Boards Into The Woods _ Indy's Child

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