Fairy tales reveal the innermost struggles of human nature and the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical “Into the Woods” brings many of the most popular stories together in one show. Now Marysville-Pilchuck High School drama students are bringing them to life with their production of the musical, which opens Friday, May 2.
“I love the way all the different tales and characters fit together,” said Mallory Hanson, one of the younger actors as a freshman. She plays Jack’s mom, of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Mallory is one of 19 students who play the imaginary characters that are part of all of us in much of Western Civilization. Eleven more students will provide live music for the show, under the direction of Brian Kesler.
Several students mentioned the appeal of the show is how all the different stories come together, and how tight the cast is.
“I love how all these tales that I grew up with interact and mingle, like a big family,” said Kristine DeLeon, a senior, who plays Little Red Riding Hood.
Rapunzel’s mother, the witch, and the Baker’s Wife wrap themselves around Little Red Riding Hood when she loses her grandmother and her house to the big bad wolf.
Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and her step sisters, The Baker and The Baker’s Wife, all rally together to stave off the giant, who is mad.
They even get a little political jab in there — their eyes roll back when considering whether to ask the royalty to help protect them from the giant.
Nicole Smith, a senior, plays one of the evil stepsisters, Florinda.
“This is the funniest show we’ve done,” Smith said. “I especially like the costumes.” She gets to wear a huge pink satin ball gown, and her hair stands nearly as high as Marge Simpson’s.
“I love this show because I am a big Sondheim fan,” said Joe Jarvis, a senior who plays two parts, the narrator and a mystery man.
“It’s an honor to work with all these fantastic people.”
Cast members agreed that this is an especially close group.
“We’re all good friends,” said Stephanie Trepanier, a senior who plays Cinderella’s stepmom.
“The cast is my favorite part of this show.”
Indeed, during rehearsal a week before opening night, the cast took turns critiquing one another, all welcoming input from fellow students. “You need to be more mad,” the group told Mallory Hanson, after her confrontation with the giant.
Shane Hoffman finds it interesting that this is his third time playing a baker. Last year in the “Disney’s High School Musical,” he played a jock named Zeke who baked, and the year before that in “Beauty and the Beast,” he played The Baker and a spoon.
“I am excited to have such a big comedic part in the show,” Hoffman said.
It is the king’s Steward, played by Renee Hemingway, who gets to kill Jack’s mom.
“It’s for the common good,” Hemingway noted.
Jessica Patterson, a junior who plays Sleeping Beauty, wants everyone to come and see the show because she knows each person will find a character in the play they will relate to.
“Every character has a different story, a different problem.”
Like Rapunzel, played by Kaija Wilcox, a sophomore. She develops a twitch after being locked in a tower for 14 years.
“I will never be well,” she cries to her mother, the witch, who responds, “I was only trying to be a good mother.”
Wilcox said she loves her part, even though she is nuts.
Lela Kovalendo, who plays the Baker’s Wife, is one of seven seniors in the show. She started drama in ninth-grade and this is her 11th production on the M-P stage.
“There’s some extreme chemistry going on here,” Kovalenko said.
“It all looks so believable.”
A freshman, Natalie Peterson plays Snow White. She likes the way it ends.
“In the end, it’s all right,” she said.
“The cast has been working hard since last January and they’re excited to let the community know that the show opens soon,” said the director, Roy Klementsen, who teaches English and drama.
Live music is provided by Jordan Alexander, trumpet; Stephanie Brett, violin; Hannah Finnegan, flute; Beth Hasseler, viola; Shannon McClain, horn; Martin Pittis, double bass; Brandyn Ruesken, percussion; Nadya Shtanukhina, violin; Kyle Toy, cello; Nate Verge, piano; Sarah Welliver, flute and piccolo, with direction by Brian Kesler.