“Into the Woods” thrills crowd
Except for my usual rant about the thoroughly inadequate sound, the BPHS students performed a high quality musical, which combined a number of favorite fairy tales into an entertaining and often thrilling production.
The all-school musical cast performed “Into the Woods” four times, including a matinee staging for elementary students, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Nov. 10-12.
One could tell immediately the setting for the musical by the woodsy staging. One could also note quickly that this was a production that proved a student favorite.
I have never been a fan of Stephen Sondheim’s music, but the students loved it, and the refrain “into the Wood, into the Woods, into the woods we go” tied the whole production into a seamless performance.
It surprised the audience that Sondheim was able to work so many fairy tales into the story and the action, and a satisfying conclusion could still be reached.
The various characters all filled their roles with enthusiasm and knowledge, and the songs fit the story quite well.
To single out any actors is a difficult task, and there were several highlights for the audience, especially the elementary students at the matinee performance.
Rose Johnson, a veteran of BPHS musicals, gave a particularly strong performance as the Wicked Witch.
She was one character who the audience had no trouble hearing, and she was especially effective in the second act of the play. Linnea Byers-Sunde, as Cinderella, was a winsome and attractive character, and Little Red Riding Hood, played by Rose Michaud, offered believability to that character.
Elijah Baker and Leah Inwards as the baker and his wife created sympathy from the audience in their desire for a family, and both Snow White (Samantha Wurst) and Sleeping Beauty (Leah Schiefert) provided touches of romance in their brief appearances.
Max Romeo’s Wolf added just the right touch of fear from the characters in the fairy tale and was a crowd favorite with the young ones in attendance.
Gabe Hagen played a wise narrator, Camden Heimerman proved naïve, yet likeable, as Jack, and Emma Christianson portrayed Jack’s mother as the stern, but caring person she was.
All of the other characters-Cinderella’s sisters,-McKenna Hein and Kylie Forystek- Cinderellas’s stepmother, Courtney Wobschall Granny, (Riauna Bishop) Rapunzel (Rachel Peterson), and the two princes-Clint Peterson and Bryan Fristedt, plus the other characters that were met in the woods, made this production a pleasing and entertaining one for the large audiences that attended the performances.
Much credit is due long-time director Tamzen Johnson and assistant Kari Bottin for their direction and staging concepts.
Amelia Harthan on piano, Michelle Southworth on percussion, and Ellen Sunde on flute all provided excellent background music and accompaniment for the cast members. Overall, it was a heartwarming and entertaining production that the actors can tuck into their memory boxes as special for years to come.