South Carroll High to stage 'Into the Woods' Fairy tale features Sondheim's music


Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Then what happens?

You can find out at the South Carroll High School Stagelighters' production of James Lapine's "Into the Woods" at 7:30 p.m. March 25-27 in the school auditorium, 1300 W. Old Liberty Road, Winfield.

"You have the morals of five traditional Grimm's Fairy Tales -- Cinderella, Jack [and the Beanstalk], the Baker and His Wife, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel -- at the end of Act I," said Mike Hoover, drama teacher and director.

"The first act deals with perseverance, following your wishes and dreams. It's about growing up," he said. "Act II picks up each tale from the point of the traditional ending to new endings."

The story revolves around a witch's curse on the baker and his wife that they could not have any children unless they collect four items, which the other four characters possess.

"Either way, they have to go through or into the woods, where they encounter danger, knowledge and experience -- sometimes happy and sometimes sad," Mr. Hoover said.

In the woods, the characters discover there are consequences to all their fulfilled wishes.

"They discover independence and interdependence, and deal with the reality that they can't just wish away their real problems," Mr. Hoover said.

Despite the having to deal with various problems, the characters learn to balance realism with idealism.

"Into the Woods" is not a standard musical," Mr. Hoover said. "It's more operatic. The story is told in song, rather than a musical where you stop the action for a song.

"Here, the music is almost incessantly playing, and it's very fast-paced."

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for the original Broadway play based on Mr. Lapine's book.

The scenery will be unusual, too. To get the audience involved, the auditorium will be transformed into a woods-like setting, and some characters will sing while parading up and down the aisles.

The five stories are held together by a narrator, played by senior Mike Panzarotto, a three-year veteran of South Carroll productions.

"I'm everybody's link to the outside world," he said. "I bring the fairy world and the real world together."

Mike has brought his own touch to the play by incorporating the character of Dr. Zachary Smith from the old TV program "Lost in Space" into the narrator's personality.

"So people will have to be glad when I'm killed, and they'll applaud," he said.

Another nasty personality is the witch, who, instead of being killed, undergoes a transformation in her beliefs. Played by senior Nicolette Sutphin, the witch loses her powers and returns to her former youth and beauty when the spell on the baker's family is broken.

"At the end I sing this song where I change my tune to be careful what you say and do around children, that they'll listen and learn," she said.

While the little ones may not get the message in the second act, they and the rest of the family will still enjoy this play, Mr. Hoover said.

Tickets are $4 per person in advance or at the door. Information: 795-8500.

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