I was raised to be charming, not sincere! - Prince Charming, after Cinderella finds out his affair with Sleeping Beauty
That being said, I must confess that I haven’t been to a play in ages—the last one, if I remember correctly, was way back in college, and was about a closet gay stuntman whose number one idol in the whole world was Ariel the Little Mermaid. After, academics, girlfriends, breakups, heartaches, Ragnarok and DOTA, and a part-time job got in the way, so I never got to watch another.
I was able to finally rectify that last Friday, thanks to the indomitable Conrad, cartoonist and graphic artist extraordinaire (albeit a very frustrated one), who was kind enough to supply me with a free ticket to ‘Into the Woods’ at the Music Museum.
Of course, Philistine that I am, I had never heard of Sondheim or had even watched a live musical (I saw Rent and Phantom of the Opera on DVD, and Avenue Q on a YouTube bootleg) in my entire life. Of ‘Into the Woods’ I had heard only one song, ‘Last Midnight’—and which was only at the urging of a very excited Conrad, who was ecstatic to know (sometime in September, I think) that his good friend Lynn Sherman would be playing the witch—and well, I wasn’t really impressed. It was sing-song-ish and complicated, and it sounded really old school. But still, a play was a play and I tried to keep an open mind. After all, the ticket was free, and with my job and all, immersing myself in a little culture wouldn’t hurt.
Lynn Sherman as the Witch
It helped that I got to read a few reviews online just before the big night, which were generally good, and so my spirits were lifted up somewhat.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Not in the least.
Sure, it did start out slow, and I’d forgotten how the story of Rapunzel started. And since it was in Greenhills, there was of course the slew of rich folk who constantly conversed in the best English, asking each other things like “How is she? Is she seeing people; does she have a social life?” and so on and so forth. I had never felt more middle-class in my entire life. It was like being flat broke and standing in the middle of a sale.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself immensely (the only thing lacking being the company my favorite person). The story picked up and the gossiping socialites, as it turned out, could shut themselves up when the situation called for it. I also found out that the songs weren’t so bad after all, and after awhile, got used to the sing-song-ish-ness of it all. The actors were all stellar, but the ones who played the baker, the baker’s wife, the witch, Little Red Riding Hood, and the older Prince Charming were the ones who stood out the best. It was a great way to end a week filled with tedious deadlines and work-related frustrations.
Michael Williams as the Baker
Julia Abueva as Little Red Riding Hood and Joaqui Valdes as Jack
I’d say more, but I never was a good reviewer, so it’s back to singing ‘Agony’ in my head again.