Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Woodrow Wilson Senior High School Into the Woods

By • Nov 19th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

We all remember reading fairy tales at bedtime, when everything ended “happily ever after.” Stephen Sondheim’s musical, Into the Woods brilliantly ties together multiple classic fairy tales into an enchanting story where “happily ever after” goes terribly wrong.

Last weekend, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School paid tribute to Sondheim’s work in their production of Into the Woods based on the book by James Lapine and with music and lyrics by Sondheim. Into the Woods premiered on Broadway in 1987 winning Tony awards for best score, best book, and best actress. This work is characteristically dark and especially challenging to perform.

The musical combines the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and an original tale about a baker and his wife. Each story becomes intertwined as characters’ desires overlap and conflict. Happy endings seem inevitable at the end of the first act but unravel completely in act two. Students from Woodrow Wilson admirably performed Sondheim’s compelling musical.

The lead characters, the Baker (Peter Hartmann) and the Baker’s wife (Cecelia Miles), made an excellent couple. Miles was one of the strongest members of the cast, singing evocatively in the song “Any Moment” while having an affair with Cinderella’s Prince (Jake Tempchin). Little Red Riding Hood (Alexis Chaney) brought hilarious comic relief and energy to the show. Cinderella (Georgi Goldstein) and her Prince Charming (Jake Tempchin) had wonderful chemistry and also sang well individually. Rapunzel (Natalie Plumb) was by far the best vocalist, wooing her lovers below the tower with her angelic voice.

Rounding out a great cast, the Witch, played by Deliah Doolan, sang enchantingly in some pieces like “Last Midnight.” The Wolf, played by Tebo Sonkwa, used incredible body language and physicality to create a menacing character. Jack (Babaak Parcham) had a youthful look and a great voice.

Overall, the performance was sometimes difficult to hear and understand due at least partially to microphone problems. However, the large ensemble scenes and songs highlighted the show. They were full of energy and, unlike smaller, individual pieces, were easy to hear. Technical difficulties distracted some actors, but overall cast focus was great.

The students of Woodrow Wilson dazzled the audience with a grand performance of Into the Woods. Riddled with technical difficulties and struggling with Sondheim’s notoriously difficult music and harmonies, actors maintained great presence and energy. Stephen Sondheim would have been pleased.

by Jeremy S. Kallan of St. Albans & Nat’l Cathedral

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