Elizabethtown Area High School presented the 2021-2022 spring musical, Into The Woods, on February 24th-26th at 7:00 pm, with a matinee on the 26th at 1:00 pm. Musical cast, pit, and crew worked tirelessly together to create a cohesive play filled with singing, dancing, laughter, and tears.
Into The Woods, based on the book by James Lapine, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is a musical following a baker and his wife as they travel into the forest to gather ingredients needed to undo a witch’s spell. During their journey, they encounter many of the Brothers Grimm’s beloved characters, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack, and more. Their task: collect the blood-red cape off of Riding Hood’s back, grab a lock of Rapunzel’s yellow hair, buy Jack’s white-as-milk cow, and get possession of Cinderella’s golden slipper.
The couple faces numerous challenges throughout the musical, primarily the ability to attain their findings to please the witch. However, the most notable conflict is the presence of a giant terrorizing their precious land. This giant, voiced by Calla Stoltzfus (grade 10) and Anna Hollinger (grade 9), came to the land with the intention of enacting revenge for her slain husband. The giant takes many lives in her wake, one being the benevolent narrator, Liam Burke (grade 9). The overarching theme of life and loss reigned throughout the musical. The couple experiences the gift of having a baby, but not without trials and sacrifice. Into The Woods provides an outlook on the importance of beloved figures and teamwork, as seen in the end of the play where many different story characters come together to live under one roof.
Considering this is a musical, the talented Elizabethtown musicians didn’t disappoint. Under the direction of Mr. Winey and Mrs. Kern, instrumentalists complemented the script and vocals to create an unforgettable production. At rehearsals, actors sang along to the live music after doing mic checks in preparation for opening night. The musical pit practiced the songs as the cast and crew worked to ensure that all last minute adjustments were made to props. In order to confirm that the crew knew their proper cues, they performed many full run-throughs.
Elizabethtown seniors celebrated their final performance in some major roles. Bryan Murray (grade 12) and Tori Bressler (grade 12), two close friends in real life, had no issue acting as the married couple, Baker and Baker’s Wife, with chemistry that transitioned from personal life to stage. Keli Georges (grade 12) dazzled in her sinister role as The Witch, with an astonishing physical transformation halfway through. Tristan Lentz (grade 12) and Caden Zimmerman (grade 11) leathered up to play the roles of Rapunzel and Cinderella’s princes, with a humorous duet in their song, Agony. Representing Cinderella’s family was Chloe Garber (grade 12) as the Evil Stepmother, with Catie Sikora (grade 10) and Madalyn Hampton (grade 9) portraying the wicked dynamic duo of Cinderella’s stepsisters.
Junior Elyse Hayden (grade 11) played an adorable Little Red Riding Hood. Mark Ogilvie (grade 12) terrorized the crowd with his chilling rendition of Riding Hood’s Wolf, while Jillian Wivell (grade 10) played Riding Hood's grandmother. Kacy Hartmann (grade 11) played Jack’s Mother, performing her role in a compelling way and highlighting the powerful impact of some incredible supporting actors. Olivia Gable (grade 10) and Claire Hanlon (grade 10) acted exceptionally as the musical’s two princesses, Cinderella and Rapunzel. Freshman Brendan Fritz (grade 9) captured the essence of Jack, a kind-hearted boy with the best intentions who somehow always finds himself in the midst of all the trouble.
All cast and crew worked in unity to produce a show-stopping musical that left the crowd in awe. Saturday’s final showing was especially memorable and bittersweet for the seniors who gave it their all one last time on Elizabethtown’s stage.
By Rose Manton & Carolyn Ulsh
Outside Broadway’s Winter Garden Theater, the marquee boasts movie star Hugh Jackman and Broadway diva extraordinaire Sutton Foster in the title roles of a musical that has become an American institution - Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.
The musical, which had been in previews since December of 2021, finally opened on February 10, 2022, to mixed reviews. Many big-name theater reviewers criticized the show, with complaints of a lack of diversity in the cast and an underwhelming spectacle.
Are these reviews accurate in gauging the views of the everyday theatergoer, or are they overly critical? Let us be the judge of that.
The most important issues to consider when reviewing the overall quality of any piece of theater include casting, choreography, execution, energy, and audience reaction.
In “The Music Man”, the cast is obviously packed with powerhouse performers. The supporting cast boasts a Tony each for the adults, and stars Jackman and Foster have two Tonys each. Is this cast too stocked with stars to produce a genuine performance? Not by a long shot.
Sutton Foster’s performance as Marian Paroo was nothing short of beautiful, and Jackman’s Hill was just sleazy enough to deliver the right amount of charm. The two were electric onstage, and their happiness oozed off them in waves. It was clear that there was nowhere else either would rather be. The supporting cast were each committed to their roles, bringing laughter and dance expertise to the production, but the standout performance of the ensemble cast was Benjamin Pajak’s debut as Winthrop Paroo.
In terms of choreography, Warren Carlyle clearly understood the assignment with his high energy, beautifully-staged choreography. Standout choreography shone through in Marian the Librarian, a fun ballet-modern piece; the show’s finale, which featured a strong and exciting tap duet by Jackman and Foster; and Shipoopi, a fast-paced number oozing with energy. Even among these incredibly complex dance numbers, the true showstopper was the show’s anthem, Seventy-Six Trombones. Actors exploded into impressive leaps and twirls, keeping with the lightning pace of the song while creating gorgeous visuals with their bodies.
Jerry Zaks’ direction emphasizes a society hesitant to trust a traveling salesman that blossoms under the changes brought upon by his influence. The creative vision is cohesive and the payoff is satisfying, leaving the audience with good feelings long after the curtains have closed. Suffice it to say, the standing ovations awarded to the cast were well-deserved.
By: Emma Creason
Photo credit: Hulu
A man is found dead in his apartment within the Arconia Housing complex you live in. The police have closed the case, and there are seemingly no leads. Something smells fishy. So, what do you do? You start a murder podcast, of course!
That is what Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnum (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) decide to do when the mysterious Tim Kono dies in Only Murders in the Building, created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman. Why was the fire alarm pulled on the night he died? What was the tie-dye hoodie guy seen going up the emergency exit stairs doing? Who is that bassoonist playing her tune on the other side of the building? Those questions and more will be answered in this murder mystery-comedy.
The unlikely trio of an out-of-his-prime television actor, a failed director, and a young woman renovating her aunt’s apartment are only brought together by two strings: they are neighbors, and they love the same murder mystery podcast. While a group of strange protagonists can detract from the plot, watching these characters interact and learn from each other feels quite natural. The chemistry between said characters is impeccable, and each faces character development in their own way brought on by the story and by each other.
This show takes considerable risks which easily pay off. One such risk comes in the form of episode seven, The Boy from 6B. The episode, featuring a character who is deaf, takes an unconventional approach by including little to no audible dialogue, putting the watcher in the shoes of said boy. Another unconventional storytelling technique is the inclusion of Looney Toons characters as unexplained delusions during episode four. These characters are used to prompt questions from the audience and address lasting mental health issues. While these risks had a chance to ruin the show, they add to the effective quirkiness that makes Only Murders in the Building unique in its approach to storytelling.
So, if someone is murdered, there have to be suspects, right? Well, Tim Kono has no shortage of prospective murderers. An unlikable young man, he kept just as many secrets as the one who took his life. Only Murders in the Building does a nice job of throwing in a large number of plot twists. My main criticism of this show would have to be the execution of said plot twists and suspects. Without trying to give any spoilers, it is hard to make theories from the beginning of the show, and most of the information to piece the story together comes together in the later portion of the show. With so many suspects and roads to take, it leaves the audience confused and frustrated that they couldn’t see the answer or a reasonable motivation of the killer. However, the show never fails to keep its audience on their toes, from suspecting the musician Sting to members of the detective trio themselves.
If you’re like me and are dying to learn what happens next in the podcast, season 2 is confirmed and is in the process of filming. Currently, season one of Only Murders in the Building can be streamed on Hulu. Overall, I had a very pleasant experience watching this show, and can’t wait for more.
By: Kacy Hartman
As the fall season rolls around, many people look forward to the festive holiday of Halloween. To prepare for the spooky season, people often find themselves pumpkin picking, walking through corn mazes, and going to haunted houses. Over this previous long weekend, these intrepid reporters decided to explore the infamous Jason’s Woods, a well-known horror attraction in Pennsylvania. After a 40-minute drive along windy and ominous backroads, we approached the desolate field known as Jason’s Woods. Upon entering, we were directed towards the ticket booth, at which we were presented with two purchase options: three attractions for the price of $25, or all five attractions for $40. We opted for the lesser of the two, which included the Horrifying Hayride, Chamber of Horrors, and Zombie Apocalypse. Throughout our experience, actors in scary costumes wielding realistic-looking props approached us as we made our way through the attractions. One of us, who has previously experienced Field of Screams, found that many of the attractions were similar, taking away that level of fear a beginner might have. However, the actors still made a good effort to scare us as we progressed through the attractions, and a few of them were able to succeed.
Jason’s Woods provides customers with a decision in how they wish to go through, leaving it very open to flexibility. Visitors at the Woods aren’t expected to experience all attractions in the same night. Staff at the haunted house are aware of the attractions customers haven’t seen thanks to their tickets, which are punched at each attraction.
To experience all five attractions in a stress-free manner, we recommend that you arrive at Jason’s Woods near their opening hour at 7pm. The horror attractions’ hours range, but are typically from 7pm-10pm. It’s worth noting that Jason’s Woods accepts payment in cash only, for both ticket sales and food, but there is an ATM on site. For more information about Jason’s Woods, visit https://jasonswoods.com/.
By Zafrin Zalal and Rose Manton
Photo Credit- Zafrin Zalal and Rose Manton
BY STAFF WRITER EMMA CREASON
When I first heard about Soul, I’ll admit my first thought was that it would be another Inside Out. However, after just a few minutes of watching the newly-released movie, streaming exclusively on Disney+, it was clear that the heart of Soul is all its own. While it does have a similar look and feel, the entire movie is meticulously planned out, and the result is absolutely stunning from the opening credits to the very end. It’s clear that the animation was a labor of love mixing lifelike characters with ethereal “souls” seamlessly. The integration of music into the film was nearly perfect with stellar musical artistry and realistic portrayal of “the zone” one enters when performing. The animation is subtle yet breathtaking, a wonderful presentation of Pixar’s best work.
The storyline follows Joe Gardner, a New York City based jazz pianist and middle school band director. Black American culture, specifically in relation to the Black community’s historical connection with jazz, is prominent, something not often seen in mainstream media productions. It’s refreshing to see diversity come through so strongly without feeling forced. The character development of the movie extends beyond our piano-playing protagonist, showing the power of one person with a zest for life to invigorate a community. With expectation subversion, comedic timing, and powerful messages, Soul hits home with everyone as it poses thoughtful questions about the meaning of life and inspires audiences of all backgrounds and walks of life.
Soul premiered on December 25, 2020, and is available for streaming on Disney+.