The Kind of Show that You Feel

Heather MacMillan plays bassoon in the Into the Woods pit band.

Heather MacMillan plays bassoon in the ‘Into the Woods’ pit band.

When I first read through the bassoon book for Into the Woods I thought “this Sondheim guy must have been on some serious drugs”. Visually, it’s a challenge to read: weird time signatures that constantly change, always compound time and as many flats and sharps as he could get into a key signature. At one point the bassoon part calls for a high D – not all bassoons can hit this note as it requires a special after-market key to play. Basically the written music is a mess to read.

But if I stop reading and just start listening, it all makes sense. It’s the kind of show that you feel rather than just play. Stop reading all those dinky little eighth note rests and just follow the natural rhythm of the songs as performed by our strong cast.

Dan Kapp conducts the Into the Woods pit band during a rehearsal.

The other saving grace to the visually distracting written score is the fact that we are being led by a brilliant conductor. This production is very lucky to have Dan Kapp directing us from the podium. As one of the cast members said, he’s a gifted conductor for both vocalists and instrumentalists. Playing the show is that much more enjoyable because I trust him to get us through regardless of the songs in 9/8 and 3/2 and 6/8 with 6 sharps. He always knows what bar number we’re at, even if we’ve gotten lost…

Looking forward to opening night – hope to see you there.

Into the Woods opens February 24 and plays until March 5 at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre. Get your tickets now!