A Moment in the Woods

The theater department makes history with the hit musical “Into the Woods”

“A cow as white as milk. A cape as red as blood. The hair as yellow as corn. A slipper as pure as gold.” These strange but seemingly connected objects listed in the trailer are actually the ingredients of a potion requested by the witch next door. A genius adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, “Into the Woods” directed by Head Theater Arts teacher Raphael L. Mirabal describes the grief, sorrow, and eventual triumph of your favorite storybook characters over the personal challenges that all led them to the same place – the woods. The musical was played throughout February 16-18 with various showtimes. With over 1887 tickets sold, the cast and production set a new record for the LBSS theater department.

Live music courtesy of the orchestra and band students sets the ominous, and yet hopeful, tone of the play. A beautiful stage set with the rustic scenes of a dusty fireplace and glowing silhouettes of the boding forest. As the lights dim, the green glow of a forest can be seen. Suddenly, actors dressed in extravagant victorian-style gowns, earthy rags, and dusty village clothes make their way into the stage through the prologue. 

The production begins with a song describing the crises of the characters. A young girl – Cinderella – wishes to attend the ball. A baker and his wife yearn for a child of their own. A family of peasants long for their bread. And the witch next door, played by Senior Lake Rusch, raps about her grudge for a destroyed garden and the hope of a potion – a potion that the baker, played by Junior Alex Perry, must collect the ingredients for in order to lift the curse. And just when the characters think that all is well, a new challenge arises – a bitter giant who threatens the safety of all who reside in land. 

Throughout the musical, the distinctive personalities of the traditional Grimm’s fairy tale characters are brought to the stage with a comedic twist. The harmonious tone of Rapunzel, played by Keira Perry, creates an angelic aura that is only tainted by the consequences of her disobedience to the witch. Claire Copes plays the role of Little Red Riding Hood, an innocent little girl on her way to her grandmother’s house who develops into a baddie that takes the wolf’s pelt as a new cloak. The baker and his wife, played by Noelle Koss, quarrel over the implications of the witch’s curse on their desire to give birth to a child.

A few highlights from the musical include the comedic mooing of a cow prop, the interaction of the narrator with the story book characters, and the vivacious nature of Rusch as she plays the witch. The play also included a few jokes for the parents, such as the baker’s wife singing about her “moment in the woods.” 

The musical takes a few components of classical and gothic literature to add to this eerie, yet ironically comedic, theme. The Mysterious Man, played by Ben Mills, acts as a prophetic being that occasionally appears during the characters’ most dire situations. “Smoke” effects are used to signify a supernatural occurrence. Sound effects create booming rumbles of thunder and lightning. 

However, Mirabal uses the comedy to showcase different themes within the play. Throughout the tumultuous relationship between the baker and his wife, they stick by each other to achieve their common goal – to seek out a child. This underscores a larger love between the two, even into their most dark moments. Little Red Riding Hood sings about how “nice does not mean good” in reference to the wolf, which is ostensibly a reference to stranger danger for the younger viewers. Greed is another theme that is played with throughout the show; the greed of the baker lands him into hot water with his wife when he attempts to sell the cow they so desperately need for the witch in exchange for a few gold eggs. Jack also creates immense trouble for the entire town when he greedily takes golden eggs from the giant in the sky. 

The play also teaches the youngsters about another reality of life: grief. As Cinderella consoles Little Red Riding Hood about the death of a loved one, she sings about how death is a part of life, drawing from her own experience of losing her mother at a young age.

This convoluted, family-friendly rendition of “Into the Woods” was certainly a memorable show. The superb stage effects, singing, and dancing truly make this one of the best performances of the theater department. It’s truly no wonder that the department made history with a record-breaking number of tickets sold.