Jake Fritz of Eastern Regional High School. #1
"Into the Woods, it's time to go, I hate to leave, I have to though!" echoed through the Arthur P. Schalick High School auditorium Saturday with their Spring Musical production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods".
Everyone's favorite Grimm brothers' fairy-tale heroes and villains take the stage in the heart-wrenching musical. Premiering on Broadway in 1987, the mystical musical was a smash hit. "Into the Woods" became a fan favorite, giving audience members a nostalgic look into their childhoods. Following a baker and his wife on their journey to lift an evil curse to conceive a child, a slew of familiar fairy-tale faces such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (Jack and the Beanstalk), and many more live in an intertwined fantasy.
From the moment audience members entered the theater, the characters were conducting a silent pre-show on stage. From watching the characters interact with each other, it was obvious who was who.
Leading the production, the Baker's wife (Desire Suarez) commanded the stage, showcasing her outstanding acting and vocal abilities. Suarez captivated the audience in her freely flowing interactions with Cinderella (Carina Cafiso) and her humorous encounter with Cinderella's prince (George Cullis). Suarez put on a performance truly among the best in high school theater. The Baker (Chris Crawford Jr.) showed off his beautifully toned vocals and brought audience members to tears with his song "No More". The role of the Witch (Devon Duffy) stole the show with her comfort in the character and powerful vocals.
A performance that cannot go unsaid is that of fearful young boy, Jack (Chris Cordery). Cordery exhibited constant energy from the first moment he jumped off the table in the library shouting "Hi Mom, it's me, Jack!" Cordery proved to be an intelligent and powerful actor, wowing the audience with his solo "Giants in the Sky."
The hidden heroes of this fairy tale are Caitlin Dotti, Alyssa Camardo, and Chenoa Yelle of the AP Schalick Stage Management crew. The trio had a lot on their plate, calling a number of microphone, set, and lighting cues. In addition Hope Campbell's humorous props such as the stepsisters' heels and toes, Milky White (the cow), and the red glitter blood in Cinderella's slipper all pleasantly surprised audience members.
With a royal cast, mystical crew, and magical effort, AP Schalick High School brought the audience into a world of fantasy which is seen only in fairy-tales.
Nancy Bowne of Eastern Regional High School #2
Everyone has been "into the woods," but "into the library" is where the true stories form. Through the library setting, cast and crew members of AP Schalick's Into the Woods had no fear of straying from the woodland path, with strong singing and characterization.
Written by James Lapine, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods first debuted on Broadway in 1987, and has since been enchanting audiences with two sides of a happily ever after. Fairytales include Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, among others.
Right before the production officially began, cast members grazed along the library set, through rows of books, ad libbing and reading. Jack (Chris Cordery) was busy building castles out of books. The Princes (Gian Verderose and George Cullis) fought over a chair with stepsister, Lucinda (Molly Wood). These unique pre show moments added to the cast's genuine interest in creating their own authentic interpretation and homage to their characters.
As the show seamlessly transitioned into fairy tale hardship, the Baker's Wife (Desire Suarez) was an impeccable asset to the show's dark humor. Her rich voice and her imaginative mannerisms portrayed great sacrifices and quests for the safety of her community. The Baker (Chris Crawford Jr) and the Witch (Devon Duffy) also became great balances to the show's overall question of finding true contentment.
Whether learning self defense or how to take off their heels, Little Red Riding Hood (Sophia Kopreski) and Cinderella (Carina Cafisco) offered refreshing growth and counter stories, staying true to their characterization.
Into the Woods, written as a multiple-story narrative, is not an easily paced production, demanding constant attention to details, permitting the characters to alter their motivations. The crew was especially in time with the stage action. Blackouts went breathlessly with set changes you didn't even realized occurred until two scenes later. Their sound and light, although more slow paced, picked up with coloring and close attention to each scene's tone.
'Props' goes to crew members, such as Hope Campbell, who offered unique twists to moments, such as Cinderella's shoe, filled with red glitter 'blood' from a cut off stepsister heel and toe, and a beanstalk made of green umbrellas.
Whether in a library or walking through the woods, "no one was alone" during AP Schalick's production. Be careful what you wish for. You might observe new renditions of fairy tales.