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  • Talma Gotteiner

'Into the Woods': A Broadway Production in Israel by LOGON

Hi there,

You may remember that about three months ago, I wrote about a headstart project of a community theater called The Light Opera Group of the Negev (LOGON). At that time I urged you to purchase tickets in advance in order to ensure sufficient funding to enable completion of the production. I am happy to inform you that the publicity has worked and that the Broadway Production will be performed in English throughout Israel.

LOGON – The Light Opera Group of the Negev – presents INTO THE WOODS

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine Director: Ya'acov Amsellem, Musical Director: David Waldmann, Choreography: Sharon Atun Moraly, Producer: Patrice Perez, Costumes: Janet Caterina/ Patrice Perez, Set design: Janet Caterina/ Yochi Lewin

Are the woods a parable of our inner soul, and what is its dark side? What happens to our favourite fairy tale characters after their wishes come true?

Cast consists of 35 actors and dancers including 10 teenagers

The musical will be performed in English with overhead Hebrew translation

ARAD, Kolnoa Oron, Saturday 9th March GIVATAYIM, Givatayim Theatre, Monday 11th March MODI’IN, Heichal Hatarbut, Wednesday 13th March NETANYA, Heichal Hatarbut Ir Yamim, Sunday 17th March ASHKELON, Heichal Hatarbut, Tuesday, 19th March JERUSALEM, Jerusalem Theatre, Sunday 24th March RA’ANANA, Yad L’Banim, Wednesday 27th March BEER SHEVA, Mishkan, Sunday 31st March.

All performances start at 19.30 . Arad performance at 20:30

For details & to order tickets on the English Website or by phone at 08-6414081.

The Witch

Photographer: Armand Perez

The long-time English-speaking theatre group, LOGON, will be presenting this year the wonderfully intriguing musical "Into the Woods" by Steven Sondheim. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1987 and won several Tony awards. In 2014, the hit Disney film adaptation of the musical, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden and Johnny Depp came out and captured everyone’s attention with its unusual take on well-loved fairy tales.

INTO THE WOODS, based on some well-known Brothers Grimm heroes, has the central theme of a childless baker and his wife who will do anything to lift a witch’s curse. She sends them INTO THE WOODS and in so doing all the characters have to face a world of wonderment and illusion, of magic and reality, of life and death.

The world of Sondheim is magical, dark and mysterious, witty and funny but at the same time threatening. It asks “What is the price we have to pay in life when our wishes come true?” and deals with the real life of "happily ever after."

Stephen Sondheim, will be celebrating eighty-nine years this March. Although his first famous work was the writing of the lyrics to "West Side Story", the musicals he wrote and composed as early as the 1970s - including Company (now re-produced in London), Follies, Sweeney Todd, and Merrily We Roll Along (now re-produced in New York) - plunged deep into the soul in a way that was not previously practiced in musicals.

Although Sondheim saw in Oscar Hammerstein II a spiritual father, the writing of the Sondheim is radically different from that of Hammerstein. While Hammerstein described himself as a lover of trees and "not very interested in urban irony," Sondheim is known to have perfected irony as his main means of expression.

Into the Woods - LOGON

Photographer: Armand Perez

It was therefore possible to understand how his followers feared the 2014 Disney's film release. Even if the musical is full of winks and humor, it still contains much of the darkness that is implied by the forest metaphor and the experiences of the various "apprentice" situations which it embraces. When the musical was first produced in 1987, some parents rushed out of the theater with their children when they realized that one of the fairy-tale characters had been killed. The fans feared that the Disney artists would not be loyal to this dark spirit. Moreover, in preliminary interviews Sondheim himself corroborated some of these concerns in a way that was interpreted as "sweetening" parts of the plot. Many of the fans breathed a sigh of relief when they realized that the magic expected from the film experience did not lead to unforgivable compromises. In addition, the film was one of the five most compelling films of the same Christmas.

Like most of the American musicals, Steven Sondheim is Jewish, though he has no strong connection to his Jewishness. He admitted that until he worked with Leonard Bernstein on "West Side Story," he could not pronounce the words "Yom Kippur."

Eyal Sherf, a musical theatre lecturer and performer, suggests it is nevertheless possible to find something of a Jewish soul in INTO THE WOODS. "It is a show where a group of people comes together to overcome calamity," he explains. Here are some of the questions from the song “No more” between father and son - Where are we to go? Where are we ever to go? Can't we just pursue our lives, with our children and our wives?

If we remember that any story may resonate differently with members of different cultures, we could say that INTO THE WOODS is not only about fairy tale characters but that in some ways - it is our own story, too.

LOGON was founded 37 years ago by Dr. Ed Spitz, an allergy expert and a theatrical singer who is performing as the narrator in this year's production. LOGON has been praised by theater personalities such as Natan Datner as director of the Be'er Sheva Theater and Menahem Golan. LOGON trains all its participants in acting, dancing, singing and English diction. It fosters actors Kiftach Mizrahi (Hairspray), Ruth Cohen (Shrek), and Ilan Shechtman (Beauty and the Beast).

Among the stars this year: Michael Herman - known from Bezeq's advertising, Patrice Perez as the witch (also producer), Gidi Naggan as Jack and more.




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