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General Brown Jr/Sr High School staging fractured, musical fairy tale “Into the Woods”


DEXTER — For a while, it looked like “Into the Woods” wouldn’t get out of the woods here.

“We’ve run into a lot of obstacles this year, not with the students but with the scheduling,” said Corrine F. Dartnell, vocal music instructor at General Brown Junior-Senior High School, who is directing the musical.

Weather-related delays and cancellations have caused many directors of school musicals this season to double their efforts to prepare their casts.

Students at General Brown will stage “Into the Woods” at 7 p.m. today and 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s a very challenging show and it’s been real challenging with missed rehearsals,” said Miss Dartnell. “But I have such a great bunch of kids that it really hasn’t affected us too much.”

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.

“Into the Woods” follows a baker and his wife who wish to have a child. Fairy tale characters in the production include Cinderella (Jessica Cyr), who wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack (Collin Vodicka), who wishes his cow would give milk.

“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.

Miss Dartnell said the music in “Into the Woods” is demanding.

“Not only because it’s hard, but it’s constant,” she said. “It’s almost like an opera in the sense that the music is almost never ceasing. The students have to be not only prepared with their notes and their words, but with their timing and their entrances.”

Eleventh grader Keith R. Davis plays the baker. 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 spell.

“The show is whimsical,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s a lot of fun. It basically takes a lot of the Disney franchise stories and weaves them into each other. I tie the story together.”

Explaining the storyline and moving the show along is its narrator, 11th-grader Christopher L. Yarnall.

“I’m basically telling the story that’s not directly shown on stage to give the audience a view of what will happen and what has happened that isn’t directly shown,” Mr. Yarnall said. “The most interesting thing about the show is how it takes all of these traditional classic stories and it pulls them all together.”

He said students are enjoying the show because it’s so different.

“In the past few years, we’ve done more comedy and Broadway-style shows,” he said. “This one is more fairy tale, but it’s got more serious moments than the ones in past years.”

“I like how it can be comical and it also has moments where it can be very serious,” said eighth-grader Devin M. Erikson, who plays Rapunzel’s prince.

Miss Dartnell said the parents and students have been particularly inventive with creating the sets of “Into the Woods.”

“We have an awesome, whimsical tree created just with shrink wrap, a blow torch and some paint,” she said.

Other creations include a gigantic bean stalk, a giant and a tower.

“So we had to be really creative,” Miss Dartnell said. “We’ve appreciated the input and the resources that a lot of parents and students have had to offer.”

The cast of “Into the Woods” at General Brown Central School District:

Christopher Yarnall is the narrator and the mystery man, Jessica Cyr is Cinderella, Collin Vodicka is Jack, Clair McCabe is Jack’s mother, Keith Davis is the baker, Melissa Elmer is the baker’s wife, Kaitlyn Miner is Cinderella’s stepmother, Chloe Foss is Florinda, Hailey Moote is Lucinda, Bradley George is Cinderella’s father, Anna Larkins is Little Red Riding Hood and Samantha Sampson is the witch.

Also, Meganne Brenon is Cinderella’s mother, Brandon Hart is the wolf, Rachel Martin is Granny, Deanna Brenon is Rapunzel, Devin Erikson is Rapunzel’s prince, Brandon Hart is Cinderella’s prince, Luke James is the steward, Aslin Torres is the giantess, Chloie Sherburne is Snow Shite and Misty Yarnall is Sleeping Beauty.

The chorus/ballroom guests: Marisa Avenengo, Madeline Sheen, Dianna McCabe, Stephanie Snyder and Maddie Cheever.

The details
WHAT: “Into the Woods” presented by students at General Brown Junior-Senior High School
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. today and 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the high school auditorium, 17643 Cemetery Road, Dexter
COST: $5.
OF NOTE: There will be a preshow dinner at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the school cafeteria. Cost is $5.
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