Spring Musical transports audience into twisted fairy tales

The annual spring musical this year was Into the Woods, which was shown on May 17-19 on the Huss Center stage. There were several unique aspects of the show, making this year’s musical an amazing watching experience.

If you didn’t catch the musical, here is a basic run down. Suffering from a curse caused by his father who stole magic beans from a witch, the baker and his wife are unable to have a child. With the witch being robbed of her youth and beauty from this curse, she agrees to lift it if the baker and his wife provide the necessary ingredients for a potion: a white cow, a red cape, a yellow strand of hair, and a golden slipper, none of which she is allowed to touch. After a series of failed attempts and misfortunes, the baker and his wife are able to obtain the ingredients from various fairy tales characters to make the potion and all the characters live “happily ever ever.” Cinderella marries the prince, Rapunzel is freed from her witch, Jack steals riches from the Giant in the beanstalk and kills him by cutting it down, Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are saved from the Big Bad Wolf, and the witch regains her youth and beauty. However, that is only Act I. The characters’ plots continue into the second act as they come across several conflicts which interfere with their happily ever afters. The growth of a new beanstalk results in the giant’s wife to come down to the kingdom and demand Jack’s death as retribution for her husband’s murder. After several accidental deaths, the fairy tale characters team up, plotting to kill the giants wife. The second act twists well-known tales into a mature and realistic story about family, love, and the woods.

It was clear that all the actors put in a lot of time and energy into the show, and it really showed.”

Junior Ananya Narayan, who played the witch, was amazing at singing and she realistically portrayed the witch’s emotion and perspective. Senior Ethan Asis provided emotion to the baker’s tragic story. His acting and his vocal abilities added depth to his story and well represented his character. Jack, played by Senior Max Moen, convinced the audience that he was a young boy (despite being taller than everyone else in the production, including his mother) with his energetic acting. It was clear that all the actors put in a lot of time and energy into the show, and it really showed.

The costuming was impressive for a high-school show. Although capturing Rapunzel’s famous hair could prove difficult, the kidnapped girl’s wig was beautiful, so much so that it was able to transform as the witch cut her hair, making it realistic to the audience. Another impressive feature of the costumes was the intricate detail put into Cinderella’s dress. The iridescent pearls, shimmer, and giant hoop skirt made the dress stand out, even against the detailed set. The light blue dress evoked both the animated and live-action Disney rendition of Cinderella and showed the contrast between Cinderella at the festival and her home life. The most memorable costume was that of the Milky-White Cow. With Aidan Lanz set on arm crutches, he resembled a cow as similarly that a human could get. It was a slightly disfigured interpretation of a cow, but properly replicating a cow is difficult on a human costume. The cow was equally memorable for his hilarious acting, so he was a very effective character overall.

With the show set at two hours and forty five minutes, Into the Woods was one of the longest musicals that Saint Paul Academy has produced. The 2014 Into the Woods film based on the Broadway production, was only two hours and five minutes, setting the SPA production far longer than the motion picture. The first act was one hour and 30 minutes and long enough to be its own show. Although many middle school and high school productions only do the first, more kid-friendly half of the show, the school’s production contained both acts, showing the whole twisted story.

On Saturday night, a group of SPA alumnus who were in past productions of Into the Woods were invited by the school to see the production, showing the legacy of Into the Woods at SPA.

This 2019 version of Into the Woods was a successful performance, beautifully executed.