‘Woods’ Rewards Actors and Audience Equally

Witch Makenna Zur Schmiede, center, threatens the baker and his wife, Elan Kramer, right, and Chandler Davis, in “Into the Woods” at the high school theater.

There’s still time to catch the Laguna Beach High School drama program’s production of Steven Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning “Into the Woods,” which continues through Sunday. Billed as one of the most formidable shows to stage, the musical weaves storybook characters such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, the Big Bad Wolf, and Prince Charming into a clever tale with a valuable message.

“After watching it, you’re going to learn a lesson about something, even if you don’t know it,” said Clair Howell, who plays Rapunzel, adding, “You really fall in love with all the characters…”

Proving the maxim that you get out as much as you put in, the students rose admirably to the challenge of the difficult production, resulting in a show as rewarding to them as to audiences.

“This has been truly a remarkable educational journey,” said EJ Kramer, who plays the Baker, describing an experience echoed by the other actors. “I have gained so much knowledge that I know will prove invaluable to me as I continue my study of music theatre in college.”

Karina Parker, the portrayer of Jack’s mother, agreed. “This show didn’t just give us an opportunity to show talent but allowed us to learn about ourselves and become better people.”

Awed by the scope of the production, drama booster parent Jackie Parker said the young actors’ “loyalty and endless commitment to the production, their directors, and each other is heartwarming.”

If the commitment, passion and energy of these budding thespians offers any indication of the caliber of their performance, audiences can expect a memorable show.

“I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything,” said Jackson Tupy (aka The Big Bad Wolf )… it’s a lot of work but I [grew] both as a performer and person because of it. “I highly doubt any of the cast will forget our time in the woods soon.”

Times for “Into the Woods,” at the Artists’ Theatre; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18-19; 2:30 p.m. Nov., 20. Tickets $15 students, $20 adults.


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