A&E

Eastern’s Into The Woods: A look into the dedication of students to put on a heart stopping show.

      Eastern University’s production of the Tony Award winning musical Into the Woods was performed March 28-30 in McInnis Auditorium. The musical was written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, and directed for Eastern by Michael Covel. The story follows familiar Grimm fairy tale characters, like Cinderella, Jack, and Little Red Riding Hood, joined with the Baker and his wife, as their stories connect with each other in the woods. It is a dark comedy that brings a new light to old characters.

      The production starred Zack Wilson as the narrator, Lynnae Stine as Cinderella, Steph Meell as Jack, Susie Moore as Jack’s Mother, Harrison White as the Baker, Morgan Leavy as the Baker’s Wife, Katelyn Rediger as Cinderella’s stepmother, Abigail Pardocchi as Florinda (Cinderella’s stepsister), Gabrielle Pardocchi as Lucinda (Cinderella’s other stepsister), Maggie Rafidi as Little Red Riding Hood, Delaney Tacka as the Witch, Morgan Thomas as Cinderella’s Mother and Granny, Rob Leamer as Cinderella’s father, Bryan Eltman as the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince, Sydney Becker as Rapunzel, Jake Craig as Rapunzel’s Prince, Olivia Ruth as the Steward and Sleeping Beauty, and Jackie Parzanaze as the Giant and Sleeping Beauty.

      With a brilliant cast of Eastern’s students, there was a lot of work that went into preparing the musical for its performances. It is hard to believe that the entire team only started teching (a term used in theater when the orchestra, cast, stage and lighting crew, all come together to be able to light and add sound to the show) the show a week before the performances. This shows incredible dedication and professionalism, as the expectations were very high for this year’s performance.

      Stage Manager, Cait Wooten, was very excited about Eastern’s production. As stage manager, she is vital in calling cues for sound and music during the performance (there are over 132 lighting cues and 56 sound cues), and helping out with more managerial tasks. However, she has been around since the beginning of rehearsals and has seen the progression of the cast as the show came together. When asked about Eastern’s version of Into the Woods, she was thrilled that it followed more of the original tone of the musical.

      “It’s easy to go too comedic or too dramatic, but our version does a good job of balancing that,” Wooten said.

      The production did just that with its audience. They were laughing in the right places, with the Princes’ “Agony” and gasped when the Baker’s Wife died. Eastern’s cast of students brought about the emotions that Wooten explained.

      Part of this was due to not just the cast, but every part of the production. The set was designed and put together by Stephen Wisely. There were two beautiful flats for Cinderella’s and the Baker’s houses, as well as a detailed set of stairs especially for Cinderella’s song in Act I, “On the Steps of the Palace.” Additionally, a lot of the props were made by Covel’s wife, including the Baker’s bread.

      Gabrielle Pardocchi, who played Lucinda, was also the Costume Assistant. She helped find costumes for the cast to wear. They rented most of their costumes from Fulton Theater in Lancaster, PA, and found the others that they could not rent. For Pardocchi, it was really the costumes that made the production come alive.

      When asked about the production as a whole, Pardocchi was adamant that the biggest part was the cast.

     “It’s a really close community,” She said.

      Eastern University’s production of Into the Woods was a successful hit. To find more theatre events for this year, you can visit the calendar online.

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