A bloody path: This ‘Into the Woods’ takes a dark turn

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It is a fairy tale gone wrong.

A Bay Ridge theater company will embrace the bloody side of a dark musical that takes the happily-ever-after out of your favorite fairy tales. Some versions of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” scrub out its signature slaughter to appease young audiences, but the Narrows Community Theater production, opening June 8 at Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater, will not skimp on the fake blood, said its director.

“There are a lot of companies who do ‘Into the Woods’ who don’t do some of the gory things to make it more kid-friendly, and we have not done that — we’re going full bore,” said Leah Zepel. “The characters in the show are fairy tale characters — Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel — but the show takes a very dark turn. It’s fairy tale characters thrown into real-life situations, with all the scariness that comes.”

The 18-member cast of local actors will portray a litany of classic fairy tale characters, including Jack (of the beanstalk fame), a Witch, Snow White, several princes, a Big Bad Wolf, and a baker and his wife, who all meet in the woods while on their various errands. The convoluted action seems to resolve with a happy ending, but unforeseen consequences soon lead to murder and mayhem.

Zepel plans to use some stage secrets and special props to perform the show’s magical action, along with bloody scenes that include a severed toe.

“I’m employing a lot of stage techniques that make things appear and disappear,” she said. “If I’m going to do ‘Into the Woods,’ I’m going to do it right.”

Just like a typical fairy tale, the show teaches some life lessons, although it does not have a simple moral, Zepel said.

“They’re learning what family is, what responsibility is, honesty, valor, loyalty — these are things these characters have never had to deal with before, and now they’re thrown together in the face of adversity and they have to figure it out,” she said. “It’s almost a ‘be careful what you wish for’ kind of story.”

The theater may offer a discount to kids 12 and younger, but Zepel warns against bringing little ones along.

“It’s not a kid’s show,” she said. “It’s disturbing and it’s gory.”

“Into the Woods” at Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater (403 General Lee Ave., enter at 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge, June 8–17, Fri–Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 2 pm. $25 ($20 students, $15 kids). Bring ID to enter base.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 8:18 pm, May 31, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Morris from Mill Basin says:
It can never be too gory for me.
June 2, 7:42 pm

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