“Into the Woods” is bound to enchant

O'hara Diamond '23, Page Editor

UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT South’s Drama Club rehearses for their production of Into the Woods under the direction of drama teacher and producer Meaghan Dunham (pictured far left) on Thursday, April 7 in North’s Performing Arts Center (PAC).

“The music is incredible and we have not done Sondheim in a very long time so it’s kind of an homage to this great American theater genius,” Dunham said. “We needed something smaller because we are in a building year, it was perfect for us.”

Lilly Hunwick ‘23, was surprised to receive the role of the Baker’s Wife in the musical. She hopes the production will go phenomenally and that the audience will appreciate the hard work of every person involved.

“We are all so excited to be performing for an audience,” Hunwick said. “I really had a lot of fun and there is so much work being put into this production, so I hope you enjoy it.”

Being a new member of the cast but a veteran onstage, Aliana Ritter ‘25, is thrilled to have her first performance in a high school musical. Ritter will be playing the role of the narrator in her second performance of “Into the Woods”. Her advice to her cast members is to just have fun.

“Positivity is often a word thrown around when you’re tired and have been working for a long time,” Ritter said. “At that point, you’ll usually mumble a reply, but the powerful message of optimism might not have truly set in. It’s important to really digest the joyful parts in everything you do and remember, have fun.”

In addition to the performers preparing for their debut, student choreographer Rebecca Dral ’23 has instructed the cast on dance breaks and movements throughout the show. She has full confidence in this talented cast and is anxious to see the story come to life. Dral has assisted in choreographing Tarzan and the Addams Family, which were previous Brownell Middle School productions. Dral is grateful to be given the chance to see something she’s created bloom on stage.

“This is my first time setting my own choreography on an older, more experienced group of performers,” Dral said. “Our cast is so amazing that they are my primary inspiration for the dance moves.”

The Wolf, played by Dylan DeMarco ‘24, expects nothing less than a splendid performance from the cast and crew. DeMarco has been in a generous amount of productions, including Tarzan performed at Brownell.

“I feel great about being in my first musical at South,” DeMarco said. “It’s a pleasure to be working with so many fine people.”

Ethan Vernon ’22, who plays the Baker, hasn’t performed in a musical since freshman year when he played Lefou in Beauty and the Beast. He was pleasantly surprised and proud to accept the role of the Baker, especially considering that this is his last year at South.

“I expect to put on an excellent show,” Vernon said. “The entire cast and crew expect that from everyone as well.”

Dunham draws attention to this year’s performance being a training year. She wants the cast and South students to know that this is an opportunity that two years of their peers and or classmates did not get. Although COVID impacted South’s musicals, staff and students need to understand how lucky and appreciative the students are.

“It’s been a building year for everyone and we’re learning a lot together,” Dunham said.

For students to have the courage to get up on stage and perform their heart out is a talent many people do not hold. Dunham understands the importance of skills such as courage and self-confidence.

“You can see their self-confidence, the ability to collaborate, and their artistic progress (increase) in leaps and bounds,” Dunham said. “We have done so much work on characterization, intention and developing these richly crafted musical theater characters.”

South’s production of the musical “Into the Woods” will be performed at North on April 20-23. The cast and crew are hoping for lots of parents, staff and students to come support and enjoy the show.

“It’s going to be amazing and brilliant,” Dunham said. “It might not be flawless, but flawless is boring and that’s the beauty of live theater.”