Take a trip ‘into the woods’


Courtesy Max L.

Casey Schwartz, Chief Reporter

The annual musical spectacular took place, where many students worked on stage, in the pit, and behind the scenes to make the show Into the Woods happen on March 17 and 18.

Many students were given the opportunity to participate, but in some areas of the process, it becomes a bit more selective. For those wishing to act, sing, and dance on stage, students were asked to go through a series of performance-based evaluations. After that, they were assigned parts to learn, and ultimately perform as. This entire process, known as an audition, can be quite nerve wracking for all actors, no matter their age, gender, or experience level. 

“If you want to act in shows and be a part of theater, it is more important to have a positive attitude and output than it is to have a good audition,” said junior Dara G., who played the Baker’s Wife.

Rehearsals generally consist of learning music, practicing dances, and blocking scenes, but every direction team has a different way of running things. Since the longtime director Karen Malone retired, Wendy Frankonis filled her shoes. 

“Once I made the decision that I wanted to [direct], it was more excitement than fear. I’m nervous that I won’t live up to the standards that have been set [by] Ms. Malone, but … I feel like I’m ready,” said music teacher and musical director Wendy Frankonis. 

Into the Woods, a relatively new musical as compared to other famous ones, shares the story of two bakers yearning to have a child. Stephen Sondheim, the famous and well-respected writer, brings together four classic stories: Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. In order for a witch to grant this couple their hearts’ desires, they must embark on a scavenger hunt, where they are to find out who they truly are. 

Not only does the script bring a complicated storyline, but it also comes with difficult scenes and music that its actors must learn. 

“This show is so challenging because it’s Stephen Sondheim, and so it is such a challenge for every person who has anything to do with it, whether it’s pit, whether it’s cast, whether it’s crew. Every single person had to be one hundred percent on their game and ready to work for this show, because it is not an easy show to put together,” said sophomore Sofie B. who played Jack’s Mother.

Due to this change in leadership, and level of difficulty that this show brings, there comes a change in the rehearsal schedule. 

“This show is nothing like we’ve ever done before because it relies so heavily on musicality and vocals. Also since we had a new director, the path we went down was very different than that of previous years,” said junior Aayan K., who played Rapunzel’s Prince.

Although moments may be tiring, stressful, or frustrating, there are many silver linings and support systems that come with a process such as this. 

“Being such a tight-knit group of people truly enhances the performance because we become more comfortable with each other on and off stage. It also makes the process much more fun because it allows us to help each other and support each other, while we make our friends laugh and smile,” said sophomore Alex M., stage manager.

Other than the actors and actresses performing on stage, there are many other students that have been preparing just as long. The audience, which plays a major role in the actual performance, must be interactive and emotional for the show to do well. The production team places posters around the school, posts on social media, and spreads information, in order to have this happen.

The pit orchestra playing piano, violin, drums, and more during the musical must go through months worth of practice to learn the music, where it can be recited well enough the day of the show. 

Stage crew must also ready themselves, with stage pieces, costumes, microphones, and more so that the realistic performance runs smoothly. 

The final week before the production, known most commonly as ‘tech week’, is the period of time where all aspects of the show are put together. Costumes, set, makeup, lighting, sound, and much more are all added to the months worth of work, just days before the show opens to the public. For many, this is their favorite part of the theater process. 

“This group of people wants to be here, and we want to work, and this is what we want to do […] Being in this community, in Commack, with these people is a huge part of the success of this show, because this is a group of people who love each other, that’s the root of it all,” said Sofie. 🔳