Into the Woods Cast & Crew Spotlight: Anna Marie Kirkpatrick, Carolyne Salt, and Mandy Fugate

By: Emma Grimm

Anna Marie Kirkpatrick
By Michael Presley Bobbitt

Name: Anna Marie Kirkpatrick
I play: The Cow and Giant
My favorite show is: I saw the Queen film recently, Bohemian Rhapsody. I have been binge watching everything Queen since. At the present moment, I could say Queen is my favorite show.
My favorite food is:  Well, that’s impossible to say. I can tell you my favorite meal. I had the privilege of eating at the Noma pop up in Mexico. It was incredible. I ate art!
Something weird about me: I can contort my tongue into a clover.

Normally, Little Red Riding Hood’s Granny and the Giant are double cast. But here you are playing both the Giant and Jack’s cow! What a unique situation! Have you managed to form an actor/character relationship with the cow? What challenges have you faced having to walk on all four legs and how have you overcome them?

I love playing Milky White in this production. She is a character born from costuming. I was basically given some pieces to work with and gather some other stuff together to make what is now Milky White. I could have played her on just two legs. But she is a cow. From the start I saw her on all fours. I just had to “be the cow”. I had to study how cows walk. The walking is the hardest part for this dyslexic. Each foot moves independently. I definitely use muscles I’m not normally using to play her. I have soreness, but my core is getting stronger as well. There was a lot of input from different folks that led to her creation. The legs were the hardest part to figure out how to make and the last thing completed. But once I’m in my super soft cow suit, the rest is cake. No lines. No song. I’m a mime! I just get to be the cow and interact with others. She is so sweet, forgiving, and always loving. But her face always tells you the truth!

As for the Giant, though she is technically the antagonist, she is often seen as one of the more realistic and morally just characters, much like the Witch. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

It’s interesting that she is looked at as realistic and moral. I don’t see her like that. She’s out for vengeance after the death of her husband. She, who was once close to Jack, now wants him dead. You could say she’s pro death penalty. But that doesn’t go so good for her in the end after carelessly stomping around the kingdom with her nearsighted self. Does she not know she is stepping on lots of innocent people and villages? She’s blind, not deaf. So we know she can hear them screaming. Or does she walk around in grief and anger purposely stamping out humanity? She has no moral compass in my mind. She acts out of rage.

What do you love about playing your character?

The best part of being Milky White is all the loving pets I get while wearing my super soft cow suit. Jack, played by Devin Huchingson, loves Milky the best!!! I love being Jack’s cow! Everyone in the world should feel this loved!

Besides yourself, who is your favorite character?

I love the Wolf! Justin Clement plays him beautifully. The way he gracefully moves while pursuing his prey is mesmerizing.

What do you think makes this production different and special?

What’s special about our production is the local talent we have embodying and bringing these characters to life. So much wonderful talent!!!

Carolyne Salt
By Michael Presley Bobbitt

Name: Carolyne Salt
I play: Jack’s Mom
My favorite show is:  Straight: anything Shakespeare. Musical: Probably The Producers or Fiddler on the Roof
My favorite food is: Yellowtail sashimi and pizza (but not yellowtail sashimi pizza)
Something weird about me: Some people were born with brains or beauty; I was given the magic to find nearby parking wherever I go. It’s uncanny, and surprisingly useful.

Jack’s Mother is, initially, the only living maternal figure with an outwardly good heart. Why do you think Sondheim wrote her to be the way she is? What does she contribute to the story?

Great question! Typically, heroine-based fairy tales begin with the adolescent woman being separated from her mother, while hero-driven myths often use the mother figure to spur the young man on the journey, and give him reason to return. Many people more educated than I have deliberated on the possible reasons why, and it’s an interesting rabbit hole to go down if you’ve got the time! As for what Jack’s Mother contributes, (besides being the mechanic by which Jack becomes the reluctant hero), she’s mostly there for comedic effect, but also adds another layer to the ongoing theme of relationships that runs through this show. Although she is brash, she is also much kinder than she is in most versions of the story; I think Sondheim recognized how much more valuable she is as a sympathetic character, both to Jack and to the story as a whole. Nobody LOVES Jack’s Mother (well, except Jack), but nobody hates her, either. She is what she is– a convenient little plot device who is hopefully so engaging that you can’t help but laugh… and maybe even cry a little.

And in comparison to most renditions of Jack’s Mother, you’ve made a few choices to interact with Jack when he is otherwise unaware of your presence. Why is that?

Because no-one is alone, even though sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood <3 Additionally, part of Jack’s beauty is that he isn’t entirely aware of anything, ever 🙂

What is your favorite part of the show?

Definitely the finale. It deftly combines some of the most wonderful melodies (and harmonies!) in the entire show, and offers the actors the opportunity to engage with the audience, as well as with each other. It’s both fun and deeply moving, and provides that rare chance to begin shedding the angst our characters had been accumulating even before we take our final bows.

What do you love about playing your character?

She is nearly a caricature, but not quite. She’s surprisingly nuanced for a comedic character, helping to develop as much pathos as she does humor. She gets to be just a little bit bigger than life and has opportunity to react to much of the mayhem going on around her, which is a boon to any character actor, and makes her especially fun– and challenging– to play. The only thing I dislike about her is the wrinkles and aches she creates from having to hold my face and body in such specific ways (no wonder she’s unhappy!).

Besides yourself, who is your favorite character?

That is so tough. In plumbing the depths of the human condition, Sondheim and Lapine have created some very memorable and relatable characters, and our actors really add so much to what’s on the printed page that I could write all day about each of them and not cover everything. I do have a particular fondness for the cow, though, poor thing– maybe it’s guilt 🙂

What are you most excited for the audience to see/experience, and what do you think makes this production different and special?

The immersive quality of it all. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Into the Woods— the distance between most stages and the audience, combined with the challenging music and breakneck pace, tends to turn it into a dry intellectual exercise, instead of the exciting roller-coaster that it is in a smaller venue (like ours). The set, lights, costumes, props and actors combine to make something greater than the sum of its parts. While it’s rare for me to toot my own horn, I designed the lights, and am rather proud of what our (relatively) simple plot does– it plays so well with the actors and set that it really makes you feel like you’re in the woods with us. And honestly, you are!

Mandy Fugate
By Michael Presley Bobbitt

Name: Mandy Fugate
I play: Granny and Cinderella’s Mother
My favorite show is: Into the Woods (no joke, it has been since I first saw it on Great Performances on PBS)
My favorite food is: Pizza
Something weird about me:  I was offered an internship at Henson Studios after High School.

You have previously played the role of Little Red Riding Hood, correct? What has it been like returning to the show, playing the little hell-raiser’s kin no less?

Coming back to the show has been wonderful. Into the Woods is my hands down, all time favorite show. Any opportunity I have to be a part of the show, I will most certainly jump. Each production is an opportunity make it special and unique for a new audience. I’ve tried to make Granny, spunky, like Red, but grizzled too. She lives deep in the woods, Granny is not exactly a people person.

And unlike most shows, you were not double cast as the Giant, but rather Cinderella’s Mother. What element do you think Cinderella’s Mother brings to the show?

Cindy’s Mom, like Granny, is the impetus for Cinderella. Thats why she goes into the woods. If she were the traditional “fairy godmother” she could just appear wherever. These characters give reason and motivation for others. Basically, if Granny lived in a condo on the beach, none of this would have happened.

What is your favorite part of the show?

Hello, Little Girl! And the ensemble numbers. I love hearing the harmonies.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite character?

Jack. Devin makes the complex dim, but complex emotionality seem so effortless. And that gorgeous tenor doesn’t hurt either.

What are you most excited for the audience to see/experience?

I am most excited for the audience to hear those harmonies! And to see our gorgeous set.

This is one of the most drama free ensembles I’ve been a part of. We all get along, and actually like each other. For a cast this size, with as much talent as is packed in, it’s unheard of. I am so fortunate to be a part of this show