A Project for Better Journalism chapter

“Mom, I’m a tree”

On Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24 students can head to Pendleton to see this year’s winter musical, Into the Woods, written by James Lapine with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Into the Woods puts a twist on classic fairy tales using characters like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, as well as some original characters including a childless baker and his wife, and a witch. Each of these characters has a wish they want fulfilled and they are forced to go into the woods to make their wish come true. Along the way, their paths intertwine and they must face the dangers of the woods. The musical explores what happens when you try to wish for what you may not need and how you can learn to appreciate what you already have.


The show is directed by Mr. Bill Patti, who is being assisted by student director junior Bay Cohen. It is choreographed by dance teacher Ms. Brieanna Bailey. Junior Leia Wargotz was given the position of dance captain and has been a huge help to Ms. Bailey. The technical aspects of the show are being directed by Mr. Wes Reid, Episcopal’s technical director. The winter musical afternoon option was open to grades 9-12. The principal roles of Jack, the Baker, the Baker’s Wife, Cinderella, the Witch and Little Red Riding Hood are being played by juniors Mark Berry and Christian Hudspeth, seniors Mary Peeples, Julia Messenger, and Maddy Warrell and sophomore Violet Regan respectively.


Students in the winter musical afternoon option have been working on the production since the week before Thanksgiving break. On the first day students were able to choose between being in the show or helping out with tech to help make sets as well as working on lighting and sound with Mr. Reid. The first week was spent doing auditions and callbacks. Separate auditions were given for dancing and singing. Each person was expected to have at least one song prepared for vocal auditions and some people who had callbacks were expected to learn an additional song. Students were notified of their roles the day everyone left for break.


When students returned from the break, they began learning the group numbers. Mr. Brent Erstad the choir teacher has been responsible for doing piano accompaniment and leading music rehearsals. Ms. Bailey spent the week after break starting to teach the large group numbers. Before Christmas break, Mr. Patti worked with principal actors on their staging and lines. Over break, students with major roles were asked to start memorizing their lines. After break, a daily schedule of either choreography or vocal rehearsal began. When students were not learning choreography or music and lyrics, they were responsible for helping out with tech to work on sets.


The whole musical process has been pretty grueling for students. Group numbers are run over and over again until they are close to perfection and there is almost never a free moment that is not spent on choreography or music. When asked what the hardest part about preparing for the musical has been, junior Sam Fanning, part of the ensemble said it was “Learning the songs. Mostly because Sondheim’s music is really tricky and has a lot of repeats that are different at the same time” and Christian Hudspeth said that “For a show almost 2.5 hours in length, the hardest part about preparing for the musical has been memorizing lines and lyrics. Into the Woods is full of complex tempos, key changes, and hundreds of pages of dialogue. When rehearsing, it has been very difficult to sing, dance, and act simultaneously without stumbling and forgetting something along the way.” All around, the cast and ensemble have put a lot of hard work and effort into this year’s production and we hope that everyone can come out to support us and enjoy their own little trip Into The Woods.