In the last major upper school performance of the year, the cast performed the challenging but immensely entertaining musical, “Into the Woods.” The audience was amazed by the combination of fantastic singing, acting, costumes and scenery.
The musical, by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, takes familiar fairytale characters and follows them as they venture “into the woods” where their stories take surprising twists.
The central pairing is that of the baker and his wife, played by Alexandra Rosman ’15 and Kathleen Kelso ’14, respectively. The two are harassed into a journey to find several magical objects under the threat of the witch (Aby Josephson ’13). Along the way, the characters come into contact with Cinderella (Hannah Levy ’13) who is forever running from her Prince (Sam Collins). The Baker and his wife trick the dull Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk (Bebe Rowland ’15) into selling his cow. The baker saves Little Red Riding Hood—played by the hilarious Mataya Josephson ’16—from the dastardly wolf (Alex Choe ’13).
The combination of stories creates good-natured, laugh-out-loud chaos. Actors like Hannah Levy were initially nervous about the choice of Into the Woods. Like others she believed the musical “was an ambitious choice” because of the “crazy hard music” and the length of the show. Director Tracy Poverstein echoed this sentiment and commended students for performing a Sondheim production, as his musicals are notoriously fast-paced and “musically challenging.” The nature of the performance calls for advanced music that is difficult to learn and perform.
Stage manager, Alex Jacobson ’13, commented on student morale during the difficult play. She said that only upon beginning rehearsal did the actors realize “how daunting the show was.” However, the challenges only enhanced the success of the final show.
Says Jacobson, “we could really see the characters coming to life,” especially with specific choices the actors made to make the show their own. “Mataya Josephson [Little Red] at first hated her character, and I don’t know if she still hated her character by the end, but she learned to accept Little Red—and as a character choice, decided to play her very differently than most people are used to. She decided to add a cynical twist to her character to make her seem more relatable, and she did so very well.”
Difficulties aside, Jacobson believes the show “was a very rewarding show to see come to life.” She says, “I am so incredibly proud of the cast and crew for bringing this all together and having Ms. Poverstein and our choreographer, Mr. Farley, to guide us through.”
Ms. Poverstein adds, “When a show is not easy, it is even more satisfying when it comes together.”
Featured Image: The cast. Photographer: Dan In