Into the Woods by Jenkintown Middle / High School in Jenkintown, PA
November 16, 2016
Review submitted by Juliana de Lehman of The Agnes Irwin School
A pleasant night full of princes, princesses, a witch, a baker and his wife and their interwoven quests for their individual desires told through a twisted fairytale presented by Jenkintown High School.
Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods came to Broadway in 1987 and was commended by audiences, winning multiple Tony Awards. The story follows fairytales we all know and love, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and weaves them into the storyline of a Baker and his Wife’s desire to have a baby. The fairytales are not told as we all remember them though. Into the Woods features a much darker insight into these fairytales, but these actors were up to the challenge.
Jenkintown High School put on a beautiful production compiled with a simple but detailed set, intricate makeup, and beautiful costumes. Students tackled the difficult play and hit the nail right on the head.
Every member of the cast brought something special to the show. One of the many parts of the show that stood out was The Witch, played by Avery Misinkavitch. Her powerful acting and vocals dominated the stage every time she made an appearance, especially in her performance of “Last Midnight.”
The Baker (Charlie Mangan) and Baker’s wife (Alicia McCarthy) stole the show, creating a dynamic and fantastic chemistry between the two characters. Both students provided excellent vocals and acting to the show while simultaneously leading the show and doing so wonderfully.
Supporting actors carried the show as well, such as Cinderella, played by Maria Cotsis, whose vocals made the show even more pleasant than it already was. Cotsis brought her A-game and continued to impress every time she would take the stage. Cinderella’s prince, played by Danny Wescott, and Rapunzel’s prince, played by James Gans, had the entire theater laughing during their comedic number “Agony.”
The set had fantastic attention to detail and although simple; it fit very well with the show and gave the actors plenty of space to perform. The props used in the play were fantastic and beautifully made. Even though the sound cut out a few times, the brilliant recovery from any mistakes they had made quickly made me forget.
Overall, Jenkintown High School’s performance of Into the Woods was amazing and provided the audience with a night full of laughter and awe of the talent on the stage, making them feel as if they were in their own fairytale!
Review submitted by Lia Della Porta of The Agnes Irwin School
Have you ever seen a world where all the acclaimed fairytales combine to tell their stories? A wondrous journey where bakers meet princesses, and witches meet little girls in red capes. Jenkintown High School beautifully brought all these characters and stories to life when they presented Into the Woods.
Into the Woods opened on Broadway in November 1997, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It was very popular and received ten Tony nominations, and won three Tony awards. The show centers on a baker and his wife embarking on a journey in order to have a child, and it adapts many renowned fairytales and their characters to complete the production.
Jenkintown High School performed the show excellently. Charlie Mangan as The Baker gave a compelling performance with incredible vocal talent. His ability to stay in character and his clear commitment to the role throughout the show really brought his performance to life. Another admirable portrayal was Maria Cotsis as Cinderella. Her bright and beautiful voice along with her expressive acting abilities drew audience members to the lovely character. The Baker’s Wife, played by Alicia McCarthy, had incredible comic choices that left the audience in utter laughter, and her acting was very distinguished and admirable.
One number that was particularly captivating was “No One is Alone”, sung by The Baker, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood (played by Mattie McNamara), and Jack (played by Ethan Walters). The four actors and actresses showed full engagement in their characters in one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the show. The chemistry between them was clear and definite and elevated the beauty of the song.
In this production, the crew was delightfully exceptional. The set was simple yet powerful and worked with what was going on onstage, and transitions between scenes were very smooth and clearly well-prepared. The lighting was very colorful and elaborate, and drew the audience to the stage, while the sound was also very well done.
Overall, Jenkintown High School’s rendition of Into the Woods was very beautifully done, and all the audience members were left wishing they could live “Happy Ever After”!