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Sackets Harbor students staging ‘Into the Woods’

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SACKETS HARBOR — Students here are going “Into the Woods” and out of the school for their spring musical.

The worlds of the Brothers Grimm and modern day musicals collide in the production of “Into the Woods” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. Sackets Harbor students will stage the show at Lake Ontario Playhouse on Friday and Saturday.

Sackets Harbor Central High School music teacher Paul J. Buell said it is the first time he has used the stage of the playhouse for student musicals, thanks to the generosity of playhouse owner Michael Kinnie. The location is a striking switch from the regular venue of the stage in the high school gym.

“The sound there is phenomenal,” he said of the playhouse. “One of the problems in putting on a show that has a lot of subtle dialogue on a stage in the gym is that you can’t always hear everything that’s going on.”

He added that the location has another benefit: “It’s nice to allow the kids to get into a professional setting like that.”

“Into the Woods” follows a baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk.

“The easiest way to describe it is that it’s a fractured fairy tale,” Mr. Buell said. “It’s a bunch of fairy tale characters that unite into a single story.”

When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse.

“Into the Woods” opened on Broadway in 1987,where it ran for two years. It won a Tony Award for best original score. The show had revivals in 1997 and 2002.

Mr. Buell is staging a condensed version of “Into the Woods,” which doesn’t contain act two.

“It leaves out some of the violence and the darker side of it,” he said.

Junior Brian D. Elliott plays the baker in “Into the Woods.”

“The baker is the one who ends up tying all the stories together,” Brian said. “He has a spell cast on him and he has to get something from people in order to reverse the spell.”

Junior Taylor E. Queior plays Cinderella, who has a different focus in “Into the Woods.”

“She’s running from her prince and encounters the baker’s wife, who needs her slipper in order to have a child,” Taylor said.

Senior Rachel S. Sousa plays the witch.

“The story line is interesting,” she said. “There’s also a lot of humor in it, which makes it really fun.”

Last year, Rachel, who has performed at the playhouse in shows produced by Stage Notes, joined 10 other north country students who performed at the New York State School Music Association All-State Conference in Rochester, a feat that marks the highest achievement a high school orchestra, band or chorus student can make.

Rachel plans to attend Marymount Manhattan College in New York City in the fall to study theater performance and musical theater.

In addition to the humor, the play’s music, Taylor said, helps make “Into the Woods” shine.

“Rapunzel’s prince and Cinderella’s prince do one song called ‘Agony,’” Taylor said. “That’s probably my favorite. It’s really funny.”

“Into the Woods” features students in grades seven through 12.

Eighth-grader Amy R. Nans said she has been in other school shows, but particularly enjoys “Into the Woods.”

“It’s a good cast because there’s not just one main role, there’s a bunch of main roles,” she said. “And the cast is really close.”

the details
WHAT: ‘Into the Woods’ presented by students at Sackets Harbor Central School
WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Lake Ontario Playhouse, 103 W. Main St., Sackets Harbor
COST: $5 for general admission and $3 for senior citizens and children under the age of 12
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