Into The Woods At Harding
Being in Harding Middle School’s drama club has been an amazing experience! It gives young, aspiring actors a chance to light up the stage with their talents and receive hands-on theater experience. I couldn’t be happier to be a participant of the magic!
This year’s musical, Into the Woods Jr., was sort of like a shorter, condensed version of the original musical. This adapted version, with music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim, was based on the book by James Lapine. Our show was directed by the amazing Brittany Gaul and her assistant director from Lakewood High School, Rylie Elswick. The musical focuses on the lives and wishes of many different characters, all of which are told by a narrator. There’s the baker and his wife, who wish to have a child, with every effort made leading to another disappointment. There’s Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s festival, but is denied by her cruel step-mother and two step-sisters. There’s Little Red Riding Hood, tasked with taking bread and wine to her grandmother, who has fallen ill. There’s Jack, whose mother sends him off to sell their cow, and Jack’s best friend, Milky White. Other characters include the Witch, Rapunzel and her Prince, Cinderella’s Prince and his Steward, the Mysterious Man, the Wolf, and a charming ensemble who help to tell the story. Their stories intertwine, mixing together to create one fascinating adventure complete with action, drama, and laughter.
I am in seventh grade at the middle school. This is my third show and second musical while this is at HMS. This time around, I was cast as Cinderella. I was absolutely thrilled to find my name on the cast list, and I couldn’t have asked for a role I wanted more! I am so proud of my fellow members, who all did a stunning job on stage. In the weeks leading up to the day of the show, you become very close with cast and crew members and develop a special kind of trust, almost like a family. In the beginning, we were a bunch of middle schoolers stumbling through music and mumbling through lines, but after less than two months of rehearsing, we were able to put on a successful show full of charm and liveliness!
In this production I was in the ensemble, and although I did not get the biggest role, it was still a lovely experience. I loved how in the start we only knew a few of the fellow cast members but at the end when it was showtime we knew, and were almost family with the whole cast. What is truly amazing was how so many people learned all of their lines in such a short amount of time.
It was great to watch all of the fairytales intertwine. In Into The Woods we had Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, we also had Cinderella, Rapunzel and their princes, then we had Jack and the Beanstalk, along with Milky White and his mother. To tie all of these stories together we had the baker and the baker's wife who had to go into the woods and meet each of these characters in the process..
What made this show truly amazing was how everyone helped like Felix's (who plays Rapunzel's Prince) dad, who helped make the swords for the shoe fitting scene, and the singing scene ¨Agony¨--which was just an amazing scene, sung by Cinderella's and Rapunzel's princes. If all the acting and singing was not enough, there were also dances, like in the song ¨Hello Little Girl¨ which made the scenes very enjoyable.
There were so many people that made this show what it was, even if you didn't directly see them or hear them, like the stage crew who helped paint the sets and make the posters, and who ran onto the stage and changed sets during the show. There were also the ones who helped choreograph and direct. Rylie Elswick and Sasha Strong helped with the choreography and Brittany Gaul directed with help from Rylie as well. In the end, this show was fabulous, even though in the process there were a few bumps, the whole cast and crew were able to pull it off and make the whole event great!
Lydia Kress and Julia Kompier are seventh graders at Harding Middle School.