Into the Woods – Ridley High School in Folsom, PA
April 12, 2016
Review by: Zoe Grossinger of Barrack Hebrew Academy
The Ridley High School drama group took the audience on an unforgettable trip Into the Woods in a lively and magical performance of Sondheim’s classic musical. The fairytale medley was studded with sharp humor, large personalities and resonating vocals. The entire auditorium was filled with sounds and visuals that made it feel as though we were in an interactive storybook.
Into the Woods is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim that is based around the stories of “Little Red Ridinghood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, “Cinderella”, and other age-old fairytales. A baker and his wife interact with storybook characters through the woods on a witch-administered quest to begin their family. Due to its unique storyline and variety of beloved songs and characters, Into the Woods won several Tony Awards and went on multiple tours on and off Broadway. Recently, the musical has been adapted into an Academy Award nominated film.
Played by Josh Butler, Jack had talent as great as his towering beanstalk. He brought the house down with his take on the renowned song, “Giants in the Sky”. The emotion he brought to his character was palpable. Jake Mergott perfectly channeled the suave and confident persona of Cinderella’s “charming but not sincere” Prince. He brought the same notable gusto and underlying evil inclinations to his second role as the Wolf. The witch, Mikyah Mott, took command of the stage with perfect comedic timing, piercing screeches and a voice that shook the trees on stage.
The show could not have gone on without the enchanted performances of the supporting actors and actresses. Whether PJ Williams (The Mysterious Man) was comically dawdling and jumping across the stage or spewing his hackneyed and repetitive lines, he never failed to bring life and comedic relief to the forest. Sarah Messina both sounded and looked the part of a melodic and beautiful damsel in distress. Her sonorous riffs from atop her tower were enough to make both her prince and the audience swoon.
Ridley High School magically brought the misty and deep woods onstage with believable props, painted trees and lighting that resembled natural sunlight. An atmosphere of the dark and mysterious woods was created with enchanting winds, chimes and strings from the orchestra.
Thank you to Ridley High School for taking us on a magical journey into “Your Little World”!
Review by: Georgette Avrigian of Haverford High School
A thrilling adventure through the dangerous woods, filled with spells, temptations, fairy tales, and romance is presented on the stage of Ridley High School’s production of Into the Woods.
Into the Woods is the story of a baker and his wife who, when put under a spell by their witch neighbor, are forced to adventure off into the woods to break this spell. They are given specific tasks as they are to collect materials else the baker’s wife will not be able to bare children. As they set off to find these items, leaving their village, they meet various fairy tale characters who have wishes of their own and who grow individually from their actions as well as fellow acquaintances while in the woods. They each experience struggle, doubt, danger, and love along the woods, but ultimately work together in order to not only grant the baker and his wife’s wish but find the deepest desires of their heart.
Ridley High School’s cast did a notably good job in presenting this story intertwined with fairytale characters, through the very detailed costumes, vibrant energy of the ensemble, and enchanted set designs which portrayed the mystically filled metaphorical term of “the woods.”
The Baker, played by James Clark, was strong vocally and his wife, played by Colleen Mahoney, displayed a nice balance vocally as they harmonized well especially in the song, “It Takes Two.” Cinderella, played by Lauren Myers brought her innocence and a desire for true love to the performance while Jack, played by Josh Butler, truly shined in his musical number “Giants in the Sky” as his powerful vocals and presence on stage was debuted.
The ensemble was focused and lively, displaying an abundance of energy on stage. Cinderella’s Prince, played by Jake Mergott was outstanding vocally and added a comedic presence to the production through his charming demeanor and remarks. The Wolf, also played by Jake Mergott, immediately stole the stage upon his entrance. Rapunzel’s Prince, played by Ben Mergott displayed his character quite well filling the musical number “Agony” with great meaning and creating a dynamic duo with Cinderella’s Prince. The Witch, played by Mikyah Mott was a very powerful character convincing the audience of her witch-like behavior with her tone of voice and gestures. Rapunzel, played by Sarah Messina, although a minor role in the production, had a beautiful voice executing her role fairly well.
The colorful lighting was phenomenal, helping to display the drastic mood changes in relation with the events occurring on the journey into the woods. The Stage Crew worked quickly and were hardly noticeable adding no distraction or delay to the overall performance. Although the microphones experienced some difficulties, the actors were able to continue their performance fluidly. The different sets, intricately designed, beginning with the villager’s homes then later to the dangerous woods, captured the beauty and magical tone of the performance.
Ridley High School’s production of Into the Woods, although being a difficult production for a high school to perform, was an adventurous experience leaving the audience captivated by the enchanted setting and mesmerized by the memorable musical numbers.