Preview of Into the Woods: Thinking outside the box in WHHS theater


Courtesy Mikki Schaffner

SENIOR Lily Adams and Jack Giglia,‘21, pose for an Into the Woods promotional shot. Giglia will play The Baker and Adams will play The Baker’s Wife in the upcoming production.

By Owen Cummings, Walnut Hills High School

On Nov. 1, the WHHS Theater program invites you to journey into the woods for an immersive performance of Into the Woods, that will be different from any other show delivered by the program in the past.

“When we decided that we were going to be doing a musical in the Black Box and we chose Into the Woods, one of the things we discussed was making it a really immersive experience for the audience,” said Helen Raymond-Goers, the technical director for the show.

As of Oct. 12, the set is not finished, but it certainly seems like the stagecraft crew has achieved this goal of immersing the crowd into the woods. Instead of sitting on the ground, the audience will be placed on platforms raised up to canopy level, completing the feeling of being in the woods.

Not only will the show feature a realistic set, but the delivery of the music is expected to be top-notch, as none of the singers will be wearing body mics for amplification.

“In the auditorium, a lot of the people who have solos and stuff have mics, so their sound can carry out to the audience,” SENIOR Milan Parikh, who plays the role of the narrator, said. “With the music or anything in here, we’re not going to have those, so we’ll have to project over the music.”

However, it seems as if none of the actors are simply shrugging this off. Just walking past the Black Box theater on a rehearsal day, at least five different people can be heard warming up and projecting their voices in order to overcome the music.

It isn’t just any music. Into the Woods was written by famed Broadway writer Stephen Sondheim, whose other notable works include Sweeney Todd and Company. The actors themselves note that the piece can be hard to follow at times.

“I think he’s just too smart for us,” Olivia Busche, ‘21, who plays Jack’s Mother in the show, said. “And I think he just expects everyone else to be on his level.”

Despite the complexity of the music, or the singer vs. music challenge, Into the Woods will prove to be what it sets out to do. It will be an immersive experience with a great set and a great cast that will make the audience marvel at how they could pick up the musical cues to start singing.

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This story was originally published on The Chatterbox on October 23, 2018.