Into the Woods Cast & Crew Spotlight: Justin Clement, Ian Hales, and Ashlyn Busscher

By: Emma Grimm

Name: Justin Clement  
I play: Prince Charming/The Wolf
My favorite show is: Sweeney Todd
My favorite food is: Anything that incorporates cheese into it. Also donuts.
Something weird about me: I’m really into wrestling even though I don’t talk about it.

You’re playing one of my personal favorite double casts – The Wolf and Prince Charming. What do you think Sondheim’s reason for writing these two characters to be played by the same actor is, if any? Do you think there are real life similarities between “wolves” and “princes”?

I can’t speak to Sondheim’s reasoning, but I’d venture a guess to say that the dual role is there to speak to the duality of the human condition. There’s a gray area everyone sits in (some more comfortably than others) that speaks to who people really are and who they pretend to be- and what they do to obtain whatever power they can have over their destinies. The Wolf is an obvious predator with charm and grace, but still has to dress up as Little Red’s grandmother to get what he wants. The Prince has everything he could want- except happiness- he’s always searching for more – looking in places unknown for what he can’t have. Both roles are different sides of the same coin. The Wolf tells Little Red to slow down and take in the flowers and the Prince tells the Baker’s wife essentially the same thing- to take in what’s around her even if it’s just for a moment.

What is your favorite part about the show?

The Finale- all characters together and expressing what they’ve learned.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite character?

The Baker’s Wife- very complex and human.

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

The set! It’s masterful!

Name: Ian Hales
I play:  Rapunzel’s Prince
My favorite show is: Twelfth Night
My favorite food is: Chocolate
Something weird about me: I’ve never been to a College football game

First off, my compliments to the seamster. The Prince’s costumes look fantastic. And though they look beautiful on the outside, the Prince’s don’t seem to be the traditional “charming, well mannered” types on the inside. Do you think Rapunzel’s Prince is truly a hero, or is it a façade?

Rapunzel’s Prince isn’t as fleshed out as some of the other characters, so I have trouble categorizing him. I think he is heroic, but obviously flawed. His intentions are good, but he lacks the experience to really overcome the privilege of his upbringing. He grows throughout the show, but still has a ways to go. I can’t elaborate further without spoilers.

What is your favorite part of the show?

My favorite part of the show is when The Witch raps in the opening number.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite character?

The Witch!

Name: Ashlyn Busscher
I play:  Rapunzel
My favorite show is: Spring Awakening
My favorite food is: Spaghetti
Something weird about me: I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories

The girl who hits an A#5! What a voice – one of the true sopranos in the show. You clearly hit all of the vocal marks in this show with ease, so what has been the most challenging aspect of the show for you outside of singing? How has it helped you improve as a performer?

This is the first show in a long time where I’ve been able to play a soprano role and I’ve loved every second of it. I think the most challenging aspect was channeling the character of Rapunzel. She’s one of the smaller roles in the show, so her characterization is often overlooked. I really wanted to look deeper into who she is and why she does the things that she does, and it’s helped me develop a newfound view on her. I’ve also loved developing her relationship with the Witch. Lola Bond, who plays the Witch, has been such a joy to work with and so instrumental in developing Rapunzel into what she is now.

Besides yourself, who is your favorite character?

I think my favorite characters are Jack and the Princes. The actors have such amazing comedic timing and really sell their moments in the show. I think the audience will instantly fall in love with them.

What do you think makes this production different and special?

I think our version of Into The Woods really focuses on the depth of the characters. We’ve really created such an immersive atmosphere that everyone will feel like they are a part of this story.