Fairy tale worlds collide in “Into the Woods”

Junior Alexa Lucchesse and freshman Noah Bram rehearse for the Westminster Players’ performance of “Into the Woods” with Jamie Olszak on piano.

By Nicoletta Feldman

Numerous Disney and children’s fairy tales will soon trade places and take the stage as the Westminster Players prepare to perform their production of the musical “Into the Woods.”

The show, with music and lyrics by American composer Stephen Sondheim, was inspired by James Lapine’s book. It features characters from several well-known fairy tales — including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel — who meet the baker and his wife to create a new, unique storyline.

“Into the Woods” follows the baker, played by freshman vocal performance major Noah Bram, and the baker’s wife, played by junior vocal and choral music education major Alexa Lucchesse, who both badly want a child, but “have no luck due to a curse the witch from next door puts on their home,” according to Lucchesse. 

The witch then tells the couple that there are certain objects they need to collect in order to break the spell.

“On their journey, they meet many well-known fairy tale characters [who] could be of great help to them in obtaining the objects,” Lucchesse said.

Variety will be on display in the musical as it boasts a wide array of characters from Cinderella’s evil stepsisters to the baker’s wife.

Junior music education major Julia Donahue, who plays one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, Lucinda, says that her character is “very into her looks and, in general, not a very pleasant human.”

On the contrary, Lucchesse says the baker’s wife is “maternal, loving and kind.”

“When I describe the baker’s wife, I like to say she is very organic,” Lucchesse said. “Every move she makes comes straight from her heart, and I think she is relatable to many members of the audience.”

Despite the vast differences in the roles they play, Lucchesse and Donahue’s respective characters have brought them both their fair share of enjoyment.

“What a fun and challenging role this has been,” Lucchesse said. “She is unlike me in a lot of ways, yet I came to discover connections between her and [me].”

The same holds true for Donahue and Lucinda.

“I have so much fun playing this character,” Donahue said. “I can’t say I really relate to her in any way, but because she is such an extreme comedic archetype, it hasn’t been difficult to really channel my crazy side.”

Overall, the characters come together to create what Donahue calls “a crazy mashup” of fairy tales on stage, and “a whirlwind in the very best way,” as Lucchesse describes. 

On the surface, “Into the Woods” may appear to be nothing more than a typical musical; however, it offers much more to the audience than just song and dance.

Senior music education major McKenzie Sterner, executive director of the Westminster Players, credits the cast and crew for the sense of “fun” and “feeling” that the musical will convey to the audience. 

“It doesn’t matter your role in the show; the family that is created through working together in this community is astounding,” Sterner said. “The show has a lot of heart, and the people that have been working on it have a true passion for the story, and I think that shows through.”

Lucchesse also expressed Sterner’s ideas of “fun” and “feeling” within “Into the Woods,” saying that audiences can expect a multitude of emotions. 

“Be ready to laugh, to love, to hate and, most of all, to learn from this show,” Lucchesse said. “I’m thrilled for the audience to experience this incredible story.”

A preview performance of “Into the Woods” will take place on April 19 at 8:30 p.m. Full performances will take place on April 20 at 8:30 p.m. and April 21 at 1 p.m. in Bristol Chapel. Tickets can be purchased at https://bit.ly/2H2NYQF. 



Published in the 4/18/18 edition.

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