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Cappies: Wishes and curses and giants, oh my!

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 21, 2012 - In any kind of fairy tale, conflict is ever-present, but as soon as you throw a witch into the mix, all hell breaks loose. Marquette High School delved into this magical realm with “Into the Woods,” a retelling of several classic tales.

Premiering in 1986 in San Diego, “Into the Woods” has made it to Broadway. Each of the familiar characters has a wish that is eventually granted. However, as the plot wears on, the effects of their wishes bring about some dire consequences. When their peaceful existence is threatened by a murderous giant, these fairy tale creatures must band together to ensure their happy endings.

The Baker (Connor Jenkins) fully expressed his character development through his facial expressions and especially in “Your Fault,” a song in which the characters blame each other for their problems. As the standout female performer, Paige Woodley infused her role as the Witch with power and charisma. Even with her underhanded plotting and cold-hearted derision, Woodley managed to move the audience’s hearts with her haunting “Witch’s Lament.” Her voice was full of gut-wrenching emotion as she showed incredible vocal range.

Innocent charm and a pleasant tenor made Jack (Richard Klos) a treat to watch. His exchanges with his beloved cow Milky White (Hayley Nebrig) held constant humor and hilarity. Without a single word, Nebrig elicited lots of laughter with her animal antics.

As the Baker’s Wife, Mary Baker didn’t miss a single beat. She carried out every part of the role — from determined woman to hopeless romantic to loving mother — very believably. Little Red Riding Hood (Tara Willey) was feisty and entertaining, and her graceful prancing added to her appeal. While some vocalists’ acting abilities were stronger than others, the overall feeling with the cast was one of cohesion and teamwork, which kept the performance moving.

Transforming the stage into an enchanted wood, set-master Sean Cowell and his crew showed an incredible attention to detail. In particular, Rapunzel’s tower displayed incredible workmanship, with creeping vines and sunburst detailing at the top. Equally as mesmerizing was the makeup (Maddy Rachford, Kassandra Berger, Autumn Gullickson, Emily Lutker). The whimsical colors shown on the narrator (Lily Fitzgibbon) and the fairies made the show come to life. There were missed sound cues and crackling throughout the first act, but the sound crew (Tucker Osman, Daphne Kelley, Alex Poorman) cleaned these up in the second half of the show.

Commanding voices and a solid supporting cast made Marquette’s take on “Into the Woods” spellbinding. As the show drew to an end, the show’s main message became clear through song: Pass your stories on to your children, take care of them as best you can, and above all, be careful what you wish for.

Carolina deLegarreta is a student at Notre Dame High School. The Cappies program works with students who review student theatrical productions. 

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