This year’s musical, Into The Woods, now beginning production

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Janaya Sydney

Teachers involved in the school play share their enthusiasm for this year’s production, Into the Woods.

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This year, Townsend Harris will put on a production of Into the Woods, a 1987 musical now playing on Broadway that incorporates plots and characters from several Brothers Grimm fairy tales. At the end of November, teachers involved with producing the play conducted auditions for key roles. 

Teachers Ryan Dunbar, Kevin Heathwood, and Kevin Schwab will work with student performers and musicians to bring the show to life this spring. On the selection of the show, Mr. Schwab said, “When Stephen Sondheim [Composer and Lyricist for Into the Woods] died, the idea was born to commemorate this brilliant composer’s work and Mr. Heathwood introduced Into the Woods to our school community during last Keeper’s Day with great excitement.”

Mr. Dunbar said, “This is a show we’ve been considering for a few years and there’s been a lot of student excitement about the show.” 

Additionally, Mr. Dunbar said that there are a couple of things that are very challenging about the show. This includes needing an orchestra that is capable of handling the complex music and singers who can handle the songs, which can be vocally taxing and difficult to sing.

Mr. Heathwood said that the students will be up to the challenge. “The music is challenging for the vocalists, the music is challenging for the pit musicians: it’s got something for everyone. So it was just a really good fit so we went for it.”

With the show selected, the next step was auditions. In recent weeks, students interested in auditioning got to select from vocal pieces that they then sang during their four minute audition slot; they also performed a short monologue.

The show is an ensemble piece with characters from various fairy tales. Overall, there are six main roles between the tales, and they were cast as follows: Brian Hsu will play The Baker, Sally Zheng will play the Baker’s Wife, Julia Waters will play Cinderella, Anastasia Gonidelis will play the Witch, Reem Nasrallah will play Little Red Riding Hood, and Tiffany Cheung will play Jack.

Though planning for Into the Woods is still in its early stages, Mr. Dunbar and Mr. Heathwood shared that this year, the pit orchestra will be onstage.

Mr. Schwab said that he’s worked on this musical before in the past and is eager to return to it. He said, “I’m looking forward to collaborating on this poignant and classic tale again. Every version of Into the Woods is special in its own way, and I’m sure our THHS Players will deliver an impressive show in April.”

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