by Teddy Mebane and Hailey Reilly
The WHS theater department brought magic to the stage last week in its production of Into the Woods. The musical weaves common fairy tales into the quest of a baker and his wife as they venture into the woods to achieve their various wishes.
The outstanding production made WHS ticket sale history, according to Director Mr. Daniel Devlin. Once the curtain lifted, the musical dove straight into action with the first song, “Prologue: Into the Woods.” The opening number featured Cinderella, Jack, and the baker and his wife singing their separate stories while the others were frozen on stage. At the end of the song, their voices and storylines came together and they set off into the woods.
The seamless movements of the detailed set made the musical dynamic. Notable set pieces were Rapunzel’s tower, Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s house, which was screened to make it possible for the audience to see through, and a large giant’s hand.
Senior Jesse Zimmermann gave a standout performance as the baker’s wife, bringing humor and emotion to her role as a woman desperate to have a child. Her character contrasted well with junior Tony Peer’s portrayal of the less driven baker, and their chemistry was heart-warming in “It Takes Two.”
The show also featured impressive makeup and costume design. Senior Madeline Hudelson’s performance as the witch was enhanced by a creepy mask, designed by senior Allie Safonov and a wooden staff that emitted fire when she cast spells, crafted by senior Ellie Smith. The wolf, played by masked senior Frank Guerriero, was made more terrifying with a snout and bared teeth. A memorable moment, which is much accredited to senior costume designer Maddie Kevelson, was Hudelson’s onstage transformation from old hag to beautiful young woman.
The show included strong vocal performances by seniors Jack Ritter as Jack and Madeleine Rosenthal as Cinderella. Comedic relief came from the antics of Cinderella’s stepsisters, freshmen Lauren Triarsi and Abbie Painter. Guerriero and junior Jonathan Saminski were hilarious as two princes pining after their princesses in the duet, “Agony.”
The musical was not only funny, but also poignant. “Your Fault” exhibited the cast’s vocal abilities as they argued in harmony. Hudelson shone in “The Last Midnight,” descending under the stage to roars of applause.
The orchestra played the notably difficult music effortlessly, even doubling as the sound effects for magic beans and giant-stomping.
The musical came full circle with the entire cast singing a variation of the opening song, the voices of all the characters coming together to make the closing song a triumphant one. As the lights and music faded out to Cinderella’s last line, “I wish,” the cast received a well-deserved standing ovation.