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Augusta performance features local player

Thomson residents seated in the audience of the Augusta Players' production of Into the Woods this weekend may recognize the voice of the big, bad wolf. ... and Prince Charming. Thomson High School 1992 graduate, Shawn Dingus, is playing a dual role in the musical, which is described as a fractured fairy tale.

"It basically takes all the familiar fairy tales you grew up reading and weaves them into one connected story," stage manager Deborah Chance said. "It's incredibly clever. ... It's very, very funny and it's also very sad. I've been involved with the rehearsal process since day one, and I still laugh out loud and cry as I'm watching this show."

Written by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, the musical features characters from Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack and the Bean Stalk who are brought together by a baker and his wife in a comical setting with adult overtones. Ms. Chance said there are 20 members of the cast, and all of them are from the Central Savannah River Area.

Mr. Dingus plays the bad wolf for Little Red Riding Hood and the prince for Cinderella. He said the wolf only has a brief appearance on stage, but it's "a real fun part."

"He represents the wolf in all men. When he interacts with Little Red Riding Hood, it's more of a seduction than an actual predatory type thing. It's sort of a personification of how men can do that," he said.

The story becomes twisted as the characters are all connected together, according to Ms. Chance. She said the wicked witch from all the stories turns out to be the same witch, and the princes who woo the princesses turn out to have roving eyes.

"The Prince is the complete character of the ultimate, arrogant man who is very shallow and doesn't have any depth," Mr. Dingus said. "He wants what he can't have. And when he finally gets it, he wants more."

Mr. Dingus said the music in the production "is awesome, awesome music." He likes the song "Agony," which he said creates a melodramatic, comical scene.

"There's really great musical moments in the show. In spite of all the comedy, there's serious overtones that reflect all of society and the different people in society. I just think the whole show all together is great. I can't get enough of it, even though I watch it every night," Mr. Dingus said.

The show is at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28. The Sunday matinee is at 3 p.m. on March 1. All shows are at the Imperial Theater on Broad Street in Augusta. Tickets range from $15 to $40 and can be purchased by calling 706-826-4707 or going to

Web posted on Thursday, February 26, 2009

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