The show will go on

The stage is empty now, but Lakeshore High School’s Performing Arts Department will present “Into the Woods” on Saturday and Sunday at the high school.

Editor's note: Due to this week's bad weather, the school's production of "Into the Woods" was pushed back after our print deadline. The show now will be staged at 7 p.m. Feb. 7-9.

STEVENSVILLE — Canceled rehearsals won’t stop the Lakeshore High School Performing Arts Department from going “Into the Woods” this weekend.

Directors Katherine Rohwer and Dana Riley say the students have been working since October to stage “Into the Woods” on Saturday and Sunday at the Lakeshore Community Auditorium. Previously scheduled shows for Thursday and Friday were canceled/rescheduled because school was out due to the weather.

“Into the Woods” is a modern classic based on a combination of several familiar fairy tales and characters.

Rohwer and Riley said the students chose the show themselves for their annual musical by putting it on their short list of shows they wanted to do.

“We have deep talent, which is why we chose this show,” Riley said. “We have a lot of kids that were ready to be featured, and as opposed to several leads, there are 15 leads for this type of show.”

The 45-person cast, crew and orchestra will tell the stories of the baker and his wife (Justin Shepard and Michelle Shane), who long for a child; Cinderella (Aly Wilson), who wants to attend the King’s Festival; Little Red Riding Hood (Madison Binkley), who wants to take bread to her grandmother; and Jack (Will Turner), who wishes his cow would give milk.

Riley said the sophistication of the material and music was challenging, but the student performers in the show are very talented at reading music.

“It would be very difficult for any other high school,” she said. “Luckily, we have one of our fantastic choir directors (Rohwer) that has a knowledge of the student’s vocal ranges and can coach them on the spot. I think we are pulling it off beautifully because the talent of Katie.”

Because of the sophistication, the directors had the cast translate their scripts.

“Even if it’s in English, you need to put it into your own words before you really can perform,” Rohwer said. “You have poetic translation, but put it in your own words and see how it lets you blossom as a performer.”

Rohwer and Riley said the show has an incredibly powerful message, too.

“It speaks so clearly to the human condition and adult life,” Rohwer said. “I think as these kids become young adults, the message of you are not alone, our actions have consequences, and the message that life is a journey and we don’t always know where it will lead us, is important.”

They hope the audience leaves with the power of those themes.

The production was done with technical direction and design by Paul Milligan and David Neidlinger.

“Into the Woods” won several 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Score and Best Book, and is one of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musicals. A film version was released in 2014. 

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