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