High school musical takes performers ‘Into the Woods’
For the first time since fall 2019, Steamboat Springs High School will take the stage to host a musical.
“Into the Woods” will open on Thursday, March 31, welcoming 55 students — including a cast of 27 — back to the stage for a musical for the first time since the school put on its production of “The Adams Family” in 2019. “High School Musical” was supposed to follow in spring 2020 before COVID-19 forced its cancellation.
“It’s exciting because the last musical the high school did was my freshman year,” said Alivia Warren, who is playing Little Red Riding Hood. “My first musical was ‘Adams Family,’ but this the first musical I’ve had a lead in, so this is pretty cool.”
The production is a collection of Grimm fairy tales. It follows the characters as they journey into the woods to face an upset giantess, and the musical puts a twist on the fairy tales that many people are familiar with.
The cast features a long list of characters including Little Red Riding Hood, Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” Rapunzel and Cinderella, as well as the story of a baker and his wife who join the quest.
“Somehow all their stories get intertwined with each other until everyone’s meeting and everyone knows each other,” said senior Emma Poper, who is playing the role of the witch. “They all have their own problems to sort out, and it is just a complex story plot of how everyone is dealing with their own problems, but helping each other at the same time.”
Poper student-directed the high school’s production of “Shakespeare in Love,” which took place in November 2021, and she is excited for the opportunity to play a major part in her final year of high school.
“I’m kind of one of the main antagonists,” Poper said. “It’s super cool because there’s a lot of different attitudes. The witch has a lot of character development. She goes through a lot during this musical, and it’s super exciting to play her.”
The cast is being guided by drama teacher McCormick Leys, who likes to call himself the director of morale. He said he decided to enlist the help of Deena Selko to help with the acting while Wendy Dillon is working with the young singers.
“This is a more in-depth look at each of these characters, and because they’re put together, you get to see each character’s development a little bit more, so it’s really fun,” Selko said of “Into the Woods.”
The lyrics and music were created by Stephen Sondheim for the James Lapine fairy tale.
“Every character in this, whether it has lot of lines or not a lot of lines, is all imperative to this telling of the story,” Selko said. “The music in particular — which is very difficult to read and our musical director, Wendy Dylan, has done an amazing job with these kids — also has all these themes throughout that really tell the story and pull it all together.”
That hard work will come together with performances at 6 p.m. March 31, April 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9. Tickets are $8 for students, $10 for general seating and $20 for VIP seating. Tickets are available at the high school during the week or at the door.
“I’m looking forward to performing. I haven’t performed in a very long time … and I’m just excited to be onstage and getting to feel the energy of the crowd,” said Ruby Frank, a freshman. “I’m also excited to see all of the kids that come see the show because, by playing a Disney princess, you get to inspire the kids in the audience, and it’s adorable. That’s why I do what I do — it’s amazing, and it’s magical.”
Correction: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Emma Poper’s name.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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