Into the Woods
by Scripps Ranch High School

All the characters of our favorite fairy tales are brought together when Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine take us on a magical musical journey Into the Woods where witches and giants and big bad wolves lurk. There are dangers, to be sure. But as Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), and a peasant Baker and his Wife discover, sometimes you have to face the dangers of the woods. It’s generally safer, of course, to face those dangers together so that No One is Alone.

The story follows a Baker and the Baker’s Wife who attempt to have a child by removing the curse of an evil Witch. The Witch requires four items in order for her to agree to end her curse – a cloak as red as blood (enter the skipping Little Red Ridinghood), a cow as white as milk (Jack will sell his bovine best friend for beans), hair as gold as corn (Rapunzel has plenty to share), and a slipper pure as gold (a la Cinderella). Thus a frantic scavenger hunt right out of the Grimm Brothers ensues, affecting the adventures of all the characters as they brave the woods, and including many of the darker and gorier aspects of the Grimm fairy tales generally edited out of the Disney versions. But by the end of the first act it looks like everything has somehow turned out perfectly, and our beloved characters can go on to live happily ever after.

But not so fast – this story takes you into the dark woods a bit further, to see what happens after happily ever after. 

Scripps Ranch High School is currently staging this enchanting, amusing, and touching show with a good cast that comes on especially strong in the second act when the ties that bind the characters together begin to fray under the weight of fear brought on by an angry giant. Thomas Hodges stars as the nicely underplayed Baker, perfectly portraying the consummate ordinary guy with moments of weakness but with a deeper good inside and a large conscience that guides him through the bleakest parts of the woods. The lovely Ashley Moore gives a tremendous performance as his wife who makes sure her marriage is a team effort, helping each other when needed, and bringing to the character a gorgeous voice, great humor (including some quick adlibbing with an unruly cow), personal strength, and a glimpse into her own weaknesses in the most disturbing scene of the play with her poignantly staged Moments in the Woods. And then there’s that wicked little witch featuring the hilarious Bettina Reches as the hunched, ugly, and sadistic hag with a weakness only for the lunatic lilting coo of her dear Rapunzel (Maren Schmidt) whom she tries to keep safely tucked away in a tower. In the second act the Witch transforms into a beautiful but magic-less witch who tries to save herself at the expense of others right up to The Last Midnight.

Other fine performances come from Allison Wending as the sweet Cinderella with an exquisite voice, Keely Stinner as the pouty, pastry eating Little Red Ridinghood who you really don’t want to tick off, Kenneth Hodges as the Wolf whose excited anticipation for dinner is a riot (but who makes the mistake of ticking off Little Red), and Patrick Cruse as Cinderella’s Prince Charming who proves more charming than sincere, joining Rapunzel’s Prince (Dane Lighthart) in the diverting dirge Agony as they lament their wooing of Cinderella and Rapunzel (and of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and…well, you get the picture). Adam Carver is young Jack who may have to pay for being a thieving giant-killer, and Lamia Mazegue his critical yet protective mother. Mr. Brady Kelso cameos as the Narrator who whimsically guides us through the story until the characters decide to drag him (very unwillingly!) into the thick of the forest at the most dangerous time.

Backed by a live orchestra that does an impressive job with the complex score, Director Marjorie Mae Treger is putting on a quality show filled with memorable scenes, excellent performances, dark humor, and a deep sense for the importance of community, family, and of facing your fears when they try to stop you from truly living.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~

Narrator: Mr. Brady Kelso
Cinderella: Allison Wending
Jack: Adam Carver
Jack's Mother: Lamia Mazegue
Baker: Thomas Hodges
Baker's Wife: Ashley Moore
Stepmother: Lauren Sky Lydiard
Florinda: Mikhaela Beaudet-DeBus
Lucinda: Amy Glenys Sears
Steward: Leo James
Little Red Ridinghood: Keely Stinner
Witch: Bettina Reches
Mysterious Man: Cody Williams
Rapunzel: Maren Schmidt
Cinderella's Prince: Patrick Cruse
Rapunzel's Prince: Dane Lighthart
Wolf: Kenneth Hodges
Granny/Giant: Vicky Truscott
Cinderella's Mother/Ensemble: Tricia Madison
Snow White/Ensemble: Janae Vigil
Sleeping Beauty/Ensemble: Katy Wong
Cinderella's Father/Ensemble: Ryan Mulvey
Ensemble: Grant Hallock
Ensemble: Amy Harris

Director: Marjorie Mae Treger
Conductor/Musical Director: Russell Shedd
Vocal Director: Jay Rubin
Scenic Design: Brian Redfern
Lighting Design: Sally Stockton
Costume Design: Broadway
Makeup Design: Blair Biederman
Sound Design: Ross Goldman
Shop Manager: Drew Wending
Scenic Artist: Sara Wilhoit
Stage Manager: Asta Arens


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