|Barb Bruno delights in playing Cinderella's villainous Stepmother|
“It's always more fun to play the ‘villain’!” So says Barb Bruno, who plays Cinderella's Stepmother in the Farmington Players production of Into the Woods. Bruno is no stranger to dark Steven Sondheim musicals, having played Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins at the Barn in 2014. So how does Barb channel her evil side to get into character as the Stepmother? As she says, “The trick with villains is that not one of them feels like they are doing anything wrong. In their minds, they are usually correcting some injustice that's been done to them. Of course, the Stepmother is a total narcissist, so pretty much anything that doesn't serve her own agenda is an injustice. The other trick is to give them depth and make them people; not a one dimensional, ‘hey...I'm evil!’” Barb’s biggest challenge with this role is that “there is a very compressed amount of time on stage to say who she is, and to see the character change – broken as the world around her falls apart. It's challenging to say that in a short amount of time, and so the subtext and the layers of the character become more important to show it in an economical way.”
Barb knows audiences will love Into the Woods “for the same reason that Wicked is so popular … a different spin on characters we all know from childhood. The music is wonderful and it is a very strong group of singers and actors in the company, not to mention brilliant designers and dedicated technicians, all of whom are committed to bringing their best to the stage.” Barb also thinks the classic battle of good versus evil makes for a compelling story line. As she says, “I'm fascinated by the themes of morality in this show ... what is right, what is wrong. There's recurring dialogue about wrongs needing to be punished. Reminds me of Gandhi – ‘An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.’ EVERY character has a perspective on right and wrong. … It's the moral ambiguity of this show that gets right to the same ambiguity we face on a daily basis and leaves a lot of food for thought.”
Barb is originally from New York and has been in Michigan for a few years. She lives in a log cabin, grows lots of veggies and has just started to produce her own maple syrup! She’s truly enjoying her return to the Barn: “I am very much enjoying being with old friends on this show and making new ones. Most of all, it's just a lot of fun to be in a musical!”
Into the Woods has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 27 – May 19. The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors. Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle on opening night (April 27) will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.