Westerville South to cap 2020-21 school year with 'Into the Woods' performances

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
From left, senior Sherie Stone as Stepmother, junior Elle Rollyson as Lucinda, senior Katie Krann as Florinda and junior Tyler Zwick as Cinderella's father perform a scene during a dress rehearsal for the Westerville South High School theater troupe's presentation of "Into the Woods" on April 19. Showtimes are 7 p.m. May 7 and 9 and noon May 8 at the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.

Audiences can expect to see some of their favorite fairy-tale characters, with plot twists and turns, as Westerville South High School thespians present "Into the Woods." 

Showtimes are 7 p.m. May 7 and 9 and noon May 8 at the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.

“With the year dictating cast size, audience capacity and ability to move and dance, South was tasked with finding a challenging piece of theater that we could discover our own vision with,” said Matt Wolfe, director. “(Stephen) Sondheim’s tongue twister of a musical was the perfect fit.”

The musical intertwines the plots of several fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. 

Wolfe said a 22-strong ensemble cast, equal parts crew and orchestra, provide a wonderful evening at the theater.

Senior Cherie Stone, who plays the Stepmother, said audiences should expect lots of fun characters and dances.

She said the message of the show is that everyone needs something.

“The Stepmother is above everyone else, at least in her eyes,” Stone said. “She has never heard the word no and adores her beautiful daughters.”

Westerville South High School junior Lydia Fyock as Rapunzel performs a scene during a dress rehearsal for the school theater troupe's presentation of "Into the Woods" on April 19.

Junior Will Pyle, who plays the Baker, said "Into the Woods" is a genuine show that tackles very real subjects, but it’s also a show that is entertaining and funny. 

“There is such a strong mix of elements that practically anyone will enjoy it,” he said. 

Pyle said it includes many overarching messages and morals, but the one that comes off the strongest is the imperfection of parenthood. 

“The Witch and Rapunzel; The Baker, his wife, and his son; Jack and his mother – …  (It’s) clear that they all have issues and that no parent, spouse or child is perfect,” he said. 

Junior Bella Price, who plays the Witch, said morality and behaviors always will be passed down by generations. 

“What matters is how you make an effort to change yourself and learn from your mistakes,” she said.

Price said audiences should expect “a complex and heartfelt journey that will allow you to connect with every single character and their stories.”

Senior Sophia Shai, who plays Cinderella, said it’s an amazing show. 

“Cinderella wishes to go to the ball but once she gets her wish, it’s not everything it’s cut out to be, and she needs to decide what she really wants,” she said. 

Junior Parker Smith, who plays Jack, said each character has his or her own story, but the overall message is “be careful what you wish for.”

“Everyone wishes for something at the beginning of the musical but ends up paying for it later on,” he said. 

Senior Myah Miller (top) as Cinderella's mother, senior Sprout Dickerson (left) as Steward, senior Sophia Shai as Cinderella and junior Heath Benton as Cinderella's prince perform a scene during a dress rehearsal for the Westerville South High School theater troupe's presentation of "Into the Woods" on April 19.

Smith said Jack is a kid who is overprotected by his mother.

“He jumps at every opportunity he can to get out of the house," Smith said. "His mind is always in other places, so when there is a hardship or loss in his life, Jack can move on easily.”

Any expectations for the plot should be set aside because this show is crazy and does the unexpected, Smith said.

Senior Emylie Winesette, who plays Jack’s mother, said the show is long but worth every second. 

“This show is so special because it will be our first big musical in over a year, and everyone is so passionate and loves every second of the process,” she said. “We are so grateful to have this incredible opportunity and cannot wait for everyone to see it.”

Wolfe said the two-act musical runs two hours, 45 minutes with intermission. 

“This school year has afforded us the opportunities to explore work from a variety of playwrights that tackle a range of subjects,” Wolfe said.

With small cast sizes, he said, the students have been able to stretch themselves, and much growth has occurred.

“'Into The Woods' will be a wonderful capstone to that hard work, and we hope the community will help make this show a financial success, as well,” Wolfe said.

Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased online at westerville.k12.oh.us/olc/wshs513/page/122195.  

Any remaining tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the door one hour before the show. 

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla