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Teen actors delve ‘Into the Woods ’ with upcoming fairytale play

Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

The witch was a very interesting character …She is cursed, yes; she seems to cause mischief and trouble, but … She is full of contrasts, supreme selfishness and extreme love.

–Karen Lewis, actor 

Into the Woods 2a

Madison Taylor plays Little Red Riding Hood in the upcoming play “Into the Woods.” (Photo provided)







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Millennium Repertory Company and the Teen Actors Guild present the summer musical, “Into the Woods,” Aug. 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. at the Manchester Arts Center.

The play is a fairytale musical that focuses on a baker and his wife, who wish to have a child but must contend with an angry witch.

One of the show’s main themes centers on parents and children, so it seems fitting that one actress is following in her mother’s footsteps.

MacKenzie Lewis, daughter of Karen Lewis, is playing the witch, the same character her mother played in MRC’s 2006 production.

While the younger Lewis has been doing theater since she was 4 years old, “This is actually the first role that mom and I have played,” she says. “In my head she had the most important role ever. My mom is an amazing actress. She was just magical…I have always wanted to play this because of my mom.”

The witch’s role is an unusual one, she admits. “I guess she could be the antagonist, but really…she’s the instigator because she wants to have her wish granted, and so because of this there’s kind of like a domino effect…at the very end you find out that why she did everything…so I’m not going to spoil it,” she laughs.

Her mother agrees.

“The witch was a very interesting character to play,” says the elder Lewis. “She is cursed, yes; she seems to cause mischief and trouble, but she is not the traditional villain. She is full of contrasts, such as supreme selfishness and extreme love. She sees the truth and pronounces situations and people as they are…(when she says) ‘I’m not good. I’m not nice. I’m just right.’ ”

MacKenzie Lewis realizes that this role will be different from her usual ones, as her mom has played it before.

“Usually I’ll ask her questions about character or what I should do…so it’s going to be really interesting if I think of doing something differently and she’s like, wait, I did it this way. I’ll have my mom’s version of the witch in my head so I don’t know if I’ll play off of that or if I’m acting just like her.”

Her mother, however, believes that “MacKenzie thinks through gestures and line interpretation and makes the part her own…I’m most eager to see how MacKenzie, only 17, plays the mother-daughter relationship between the witch and Rapunzel since MacKenzie obviously has no personal experience from which to draw for the mother.

“She has the daughter part down perfectly.”

“Into the Woods” is directed by Rachael Parker and produced by Rachel Garrard for the Teen Actors Guild with Millennium Repertory Company.

While Act 1 is appropriate for all ages, please be advised that Act 2 contains intense themes and situations.

Performances are Aug. 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. at the Manchester Arts Center, located at 128 E Main St. For more information and tickets, please visit