San Diego outdoors: Aida, animal tracks, rugby, SUP with dogs, 1800s Old Town, waterski and wakeboard
Indoors: WWI San Diego, complete history of theater, Christopher Plummer, pickles, Van Gogh-Gaughin, Martina McBride
11:50 a.m., June 28
New Village Arts could have picked an easier musical for its first ever. Stephen Sondheim's anti-fable weaves a passel of fairy tales through complex scenes and equally complex score. In the second act, which revisions still haven't fixed completely, Into the Woods shows what happens after "happily ever after" (does the end, as one says, justify the beans?). Though in the capable hands of director James Vasquez (whose work on Diversionary's [title of show] ranks among 2010's best), the production is uneven. Most of all, it needs to adapt vocally to the intimate space, since several performers play big enough for the Starlight Bowl (much close-range screaming wore the opening-night audience down). Also, several singers were uncomfortable with Sondheim's intricate musicality. These troubles are fixable, once the cast settles in. And there are pluses: Steve Gunderson and Melissa Fernandes, as the Baker and his wife, do top-quality work (especially his singing of "No More" and hers of "Moments in the Woods"); Randall Dodge (a hoot as a horny Wolf and as Prince Charming); Devlin as the resurrected Witch; and Manny Fernandes gives the Narrator a Sesame Street smile. Tim Wallace's set, cartoony woods with trees that roll off and on, proves useful, as does Charlie Reuter's musical direction.