Cinderella marries Prince Charming; Little Red Riding Hood saves Granny; Jack saves himself from the giant on the beanstalk… but then what? What happens after these characters’ so-called “happily-ever-after?” Or what even constitutes a “happily-ever-after,” for that matter?
These are the questions that Stephen Sondheim’s famed Broadway musical Into the Woods, which Concord-Carlisle High School’s Theatre will be performing this May, seeks to explore.
Through the familiar characters of childhood tales, the intertwining storylines expose the raw, often harsh tests of reality that force us to accept that the happy endings that we hope for – as well as the other conventions fairy tales have taught us to accept – may not be as clear-cut as we believe.
Choosing ITW, with its significant number of roles, had a “landslide” of student support, said Melissa Charych, CC Theatre’s artistic director. The program boasts a tradition of a no-cut policy for the spring musical so that “students [can] have the opportunity to participate in high school theater if they want [to],” she said.
So the program spun this challenge into a new creative outlet creating a woods and fairytale ensemble.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to be inventive,” said Charych.
Sadie Butler, ‘24, steward, HYPE coordinator said that the production team “has really found a way to deeply incorporate everyone in this production, which is hard in a show with very limited ensemble roles.”
“I think the big takeaway message… is be careful what you wish for,” said Charych. “Life is always going to throw obstacles in your path,” and “you have to find a way to take the next step forward at whatever stage of the journey you are in.”
Cadavid said the show has a message “about the goods and evils of humanity… There’s no perfectly good; there’s no perfectly evil.”
“It’s a lot of harsh truths,” as a lot of the characters “get their wish and they’re not happy,” which she thinks will “really resonate” with the audience, noted Jules Serafini, ‘23 who plays Little Red Riding Hood.
“This show is musically challenging, and it is also enormous. It is the longest show that I have ever directed,” said Charych. “We just had to plow through.”.
Christopher Noce, the pit orchestra conductor, says that with ITW’s “nearly non-stop music from curtain to curtain,” it’s been “exciting watching [the students] rise to the occasion. As a conductor, it’s a thrilling experience to have to rely on your student’s musicianship so heavily.”
The production team collaborated with Open Door Theatre for a few 10-foot trees and with the art department to design Milky White, the puppet cow. Roos is even building a glowing moon!
Ultimately, all involved affirm that ITW—as well as the process of putting together such a massive production—establishes a sense of community.
“It takes a village,” and having an ensemble “drives home” this theme, said Serafini.
Charych concludes, “The difference between a good high school production and a great one is [when] every student is invested. And I really do feel like that’s the case in this production.”
Concord-Carlisle High School’s CC Theatre program will be performing Into the Woods on May 11, 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and at 1 p.m. on May 13. Performances will be closed-captioned in English and Mandarin. Purchase tickets at: https://www.ticketstage.com/T/CCHS.