“Into the Woods” challenges concept of morality

The cast of “Into the Woods,” mainly members of theater group the Westminster Players, pose for a photo after dress rehearsal.

By Megan Raab

The Westminster Players presented a concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” this weekend at the Bristol Chapel. The show is a dark retelling of classic fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. 

Artistic director Hailey White said, “It asks you as an audience to consider the feelings of the witches and wolves of this world, and how intentions and accidents can blur the lines between who is a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad guy.’”

The first act followed the baker and his wife, played by freshman vocal performance major Noah Bram and junior vocal and choral music education major Alexa Lucchesse, on their journey to acquire several items needed to break a spell placed upon them by the witch, played by freshman music education major Caroline Voyack, so they can have a child. Lucchesse delivered a performance of a woman so desperate to have a baby, she would do nearly anything. 

During their journey, the couple encountered several other fairytale characters such as Jack from “Jack in the Beanstalk,” played by sophomore music education major John Lucado. Lucado captured the childlike, excited spirit of the young boy who accidentally planted magic beans, leading him to an encounter with a giant. His strong voice was showcased in the upbeat number “Giants in the Sky.”

Another familiar character was Little Red Riding Hood, played by freshman musical theater major Mackenzie Germain. 

For Germain, the show was more than a performance opportunity. 

“Westminster Players gave me something more than a production. It gave me a family,” she said. “This show really helped me discover more of myself as a performer and as a person, and I couldn’t have asked for a better show or a better cast.”

Through her journey, Little Red taught the audience that “nice is different than good,” a theme carried into the second act as many characters questioned morality and who was responsible for the outcome of the story. 

How the blame is placed and the decisions of who is ultimately “good” or “bad” is discussed later in the standout number, “Your Fault,” in which the characters debate with each other on who must take responsibility for the tragedies that occured. 

Comic relief was provided through an exceptional performance by junior voice performance major René Miville, as Cinderella’s prince. His suave portrayal of the classic character was a crowd favorite. Miville’s stunning voice was featured in the duet “Agony,” with Rapunzel’s prince played by Jorddy Romero, a sophomore music major. The number features the two princes competing over who is in more agony as they attempt to win over their respective princesses, in turn winning over the audience with their charm.

The show was framed by narrator Alexander Miller, a sophomore music education major. Miller doubled as the “Mysterious Man,” and interacted with both the characters and the audience. Throughout the show’s progression, he interjected funny commentary that helped shape the themes of questionable morality and fate.

The concert production featured a minimal set and costumes in an intimate theater. White used the space creatively to tell the story. The balcony in the back of the theater represented the tower for Rapunzel, played by freshman voice performance major Emily Cousins, allowing her beautiful vocals to cascade down upon the audience. The stage was dominated by an orchestra who provided stunning music for the lovely voices of the cast, led by music director Roy DeMarco. 

Jack’s mother, played by senior McKenzie Sterner said, “Into the Woods was such a pleasure to be a part of. The camaraderie on and off stage was uplifting. I’m so glad we had a chance to show the community the beautiful work we’ve been doing.”

 

Published in the 4/25/18 edition.

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