Youngsters Perform Beyond Their Years for ‘Into The Woods’

by W. Fred Crow, The Arts
Fremont Bulletin – July 31, 2003

After seeing the latest staged offering from Star Struck Children’s Theatre, I had to readjust my theater senses. This wasn’t a child’s play that was merely nice. This was real theater carried off nicely by young people!

Kudos to Director Lori Stokes and her capable cast and crew for providing a delightful evening of fairy tales and Sondheim. Except for a rushed line here and there, and the bite of a disagreeable sound system, “Into the Woods” entertains from the opening note to the last bow.

The cast ranged in age from 14 to 20 and for the most part, performed beyond its years. Strength of voice and character portrayal with conviction were well noted, as was the pure enjoyment of entertaining.

The cast was as large as the performance. Max Wirt (The Narrator) warmly told the tale of the various fairy tales mixed together into one Sondheim musical stew. Outstanding vocals were supplied by Kristin Stokes (The Witch), Laura Sa (Cinderella), Stacy Lynn Bell (Baker’s Wife), and Courtney Stokes (Little Red Riding Hood). Andrew Sa (Baker) gave a strong performance and James Huang and Jeff Oliveira (the Prince brothers) let their royal selfishness peek through a suave and self-important demeanor. One charming adaptation was having actor Sarah Thomsen play the cow, which she did with an enchanting bovine polish.

Also noteworthy is the successful contribution made by the instrumental trio of Robert Moss, accompanist, Nancy Godfrey, keyboard, and Anthony Nunes, on percussion.

Star Struck Musical Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” plays through Aug. 2. Performances will be held at Mission San Jose High School’s Little Theatre, 41717 Palm Ave., Fremont. For reservations and information call (510) 659-1319.