Actors in Anderson Theatre’s INTO THE WOODS include Junior Alexis Zoglio as Little Red Ridinghood, Senior Micah Queen as the Wolf, Junior Adam Radcliffe as the Baker, Senior Delaney O’Toole as the Baker’s Wife, Junior Mackenzie Greulach as Cinderella, seated), Senior Audrey Button as the Witch and Sophomore Nate Goodlett as Jack. Performances are May 4 and 5 at 7:00 pm and May 6 at 2:00 pm at Anderson High School. Photo by Jennifer Alessandrini.
On May 4, 5, and 6, Anderson High School students will present their 55th Spring Musical, INTO THE WOODS by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Tickets are $10 and purchase information can be found on their website, www.AndersonTheatre.com.
INTO THE WOODS won the Tony Award in 1987 for Best Musical, and while it centers around familiar fairy tale characters like Cinderella and Little Red Ridinghood, their stories go beyond the traditional “happily ever after.”
“These characters are more human,” explains Director Chad Weddle. “Every one of us has flaws, and these characters do, too. We all make mistakes; we all want things—sometimes desperately—that are not good for us.”
Junior Mackenzie Greulach, who plays Cinderella, describes her character as “a young girl who struggles with making choices about what she wants in her life.” The story feels modern to Mackenzie because, she says, “While it does show the original fairy tale characters that everyone knows, it also explores the more realistic side of life.”
“A single mom, in poverty, trying to manage her dreamer of a son,” is how Junior Jadyn Riggs describer her character, Jack’s Mother. “We live a mess of a home, with no adult male figure. I am forced to take care of everything, provide everything.” The character is is far from the perfect mother, according to Jadyn, although she loves her son. “Unlike other characters, I don’t express my love as well as I should, because it comes from a deeper place of fear.”
“Love is a huge part of this show,” says Junior Adam Radcliffe, who plays the Baker. “Every character loves something or someone, and the only catch is, who and why. As the Baker, I get to move through scenes where my character experiences love for his wife, and his baby. He is a loving husband who faces challenges he never thought he would have to face.”
Weddle hopes audiences will recognize themselves in these characters. “The show is about all the different kinds of love we experience: romantic love, married love, parental love, but also selfish and jealous love. INTO THE WOODS uses fairy tales to explore what happens when we get exactly what we thought we wanted.” He points out that “The phrase ‘I wish’ is the most crucial line in the show. We have to think about how hard we are willing to work for what we want, and whether it is worthy. Is it selfish? Does it build our community, or destroy it?”
Senior Katie Hehn plays Cinderella’s Stepmother, who she says “is very evil and selfish! She experiences more emotions in this show than in the traditional fairy tale, and is thrown into scenes, like the one involving the Giant, which she is definitely not equipped to handle.” Hehn is facing new experiences along with her character; known for her technical leadership among the crew, this is her first on-stage role in two years. The preparation is challenging, but clearly she enjoys it. “If I had one wish, I would wish for endless opportunities to try new things!”
“With every show, I always wish that our audience has an experience that will change their life.” says Riggs. “I am excited about it all, and only wish that the story we put on stage touches someone in the audience.”
Radcliffe agrees. “People should come see this show because it is awesome. It incorporates so many different things for all different ages. And the music is Sondheim, so who would want to miss it?”