Into the Woods

High Tech Theater Arts Drama performs Into The Woods by Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Book by James Lapine

This year, the Theater Arts Drama classes, who are part of the Paper Mill Playhouse Adopt-A-School program (Year 3) presented an intricate and incredibly moving musical, Into the Woods, a musical about choices and regrets, mistakes and forgiveness, and above all about the value of friendship and humanity.

The students, directed by their teacher, Raluca Georgiana Shields, as well as their Music Director, Valerie Gonzalez, and choreographer, John Hines, focused on developing characters, through voice and movement, and their interwoven character relationships, on singing techniques, while being mindful of the extraordinarily complex music both rhythmically and otherwise. The cast was supported by the band, with the brilliant concert pianist Mr. Craig Ketter (Piano), award winning musician Daniel Ketter (Clarinet), Mathew Vares (Violin), and County Prep senior Abbey Cruz (Drums). The cast was played by thirteen Seniors: Emile LaMorte (Narrator), Cassandra Booker (Baker’s Wife), Olivia Marum (Cinderella), Chantal Gomes (Witch), Hanna Wilson (Little Red Riding Hood), Eileen Berger (Jack), Briana Lutin (Jack’s Mother), Isabella Rodriguez (Rapunzel), Mason Castillo (Mysterious Man), Kichi McNulty (Florinda), Abigail Bhikam (Lucinda), Nicole Nina (Giant’s Wife), Shannon Anderson (Cinderella’s Father). The Baker was played by Junior Andrew Morgado. In the cast other Juniors, Sophomores and Freshmen theatre students participated such as: Juniors Elanie Benitez (Cinderella’s Mother), Jillian Vega (Rapunzel’s Prince), Isabella Conde (Ensemble), Aylah Dornbos (Ensemble), Sophomores Anthony Wenzel (Cinderella’s Prince, Wolf), Alexa Rabago (Ensemble), Stefany Gomez (Ensemble), Alison Turok (Granny) and Freshmen Arianna Urgiles (Stepmother) and Macaela Silva (Steward).

Special recognition also goes to our Vocal coach Maria Cecilia Angarita who trained the students vocally throughout the year, as well as to our Stage Manager Junior Kim Quirante, and our tech crew made up of lighting technicians Seniors Madison Chambers and Jade Ortega, sound technicians Seniors Chloe Jessen, and Nalani Arboleda, under the guidance of our Lighting Designer Emily Gocon, and our Technician Director Mr. Jeremy Falzone. Our costume designer and student assistant director Senior Cassandra Booker worked tirelessly on the costumes, and our set designer Senior Violet Saynuk created the whimsical world of the play. Special thanks go to Ms. Cabrera and Mr. DePierro’s film classes for helping us with the documenting of the production.

Overall, this production really moved the audience. As one audience member put it, the meaning of the play came to life in this deeply moving way because of the commitment and emotionality of the performers: “ Your show created a space for us in the audience to deeply feel our own humanity. This is what the theater is for.” We want to thank our audience for coming on this journey with us. This is a play that will forever be in our hearts.

For this production both Cassandra and Hanna each received $10,000 Rising Star scholarships to the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts. Eileen Berger, Olivia Marum, Isabella Rodriguez, Andrew Morgado and Anthony Wenzel, received $1000 each.

The play was performed by special arrangement with MTI (Music Theatre International).

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