Musical Preview: A twist on happy endings


Photo by Harrison Li

Cast members rehearse for their upcoming performance.

Jack and the Beanstalk. Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Rapunzel. Donning the costumes of archetypal fairy tale characters, the cast of the upcoming musical “Into the Woods” rehearses for hours to perfect its dialogue and songs. The musical will take place in the theater from Feb. 22 to 25.
“It’s a mashup of several stories most people have heard, but there’s several twists that have you questioning the concept of a happy ending,” narrator and senior Hemal Madaan said.
Chosen from a pool of over 80 auditionees, the cast has been preparing since December. According to director of vocal music Rob Blaney, a typical day of rehearsal includes a run-through of songs and “blocking,” a common technique used to map out actors’ movements on stage. During their personal time, the cast members memorize their lines and get into character with reflective thinking, according to senior Tyler Ravelli, who plays the role of the Baker.
“In order to try to act like somebody, you have to know who they are,” Ravelli said. “After many hours of studying the script, watching previous performances and analyzing the interactions my character has with other people on stage, I say the actions and lines in a way that I think [the Baker] would do and say them.”
Overcoming the challenges of schedule conflicts and the complex subject matter of the songs, the cast has developed new friendships along with their acting skills.
“I try to give it my all consistently, but by the end of the week, I end up getting tired, and I feel fatigued,” the Baker’s Wife and senior Allie Hunter said. “Despite the struggles, the most rewarding thing are the wonderful relationships I have developed [with] people… I find complete joy in singing and acting and developing a character that can be so different from myself.”
With the theme of not-so-happy endings in mind, song selections typically feature a darker mood. These songs aim for a cynical yet realistic message: not everyone will have a happy ending, unlike the cheery world of classic fairy tales.
“The overarching goal for the musical is to take the audience on an adventure,” Blaney said. “In this case, it’s a journey through the woods with a lesson. A couple of the lessons in this show include: ‘Sometimes the things that we really want in life are not the best choices for us.’ ‘People are not always what they seem.’ And… ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’”