Drama goes “Into the Woods”

Sarah Markiewicz, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar High School drama students are heading “Into the Woods” as they bring the fairy tale world created by Stephen Sondheim to life. Four months after Disney made its own version of the musical, drama students use their own design concepts to have the characters of Sondheim’s story jump off the page.

Three storybooks set the stage of the musical as Cinderella, Jack, and the Baker and his Wife lament their misfortunes and wish for their problems to be amended. The arrival of a witch serves as the catalyst for the fairytale characters to venture into the darkness as their stories intertwine.

“On the simplest level [“Into the Woods”] is a mashup of fairytales, but it also deals with the human condition and makes those fairytales grow up,” director Beatrice Casagran said. “It talks about having to take risks going into the woods to make your dreams come true, but it also costs them to get what they wish for.”

While Disney modified the original “Into the Woods,” the drama department’s version will resemble Sondheim’s musical more closely. Viewers can expect a darker mood, which adds twists to a story that many would think as clichéd.

“It’s different because we always do comedic plays,” senior Katarina Avalos, who will play Cinderella’s birth mother, said. “It’s a good change because the first act is really funny. But then in the second act you get to see us become very dramatic.”

The cast of “Into the Woods,” starring freshman Amelia Anijelo as the Witch, sophomores Daniel Durkee and Julianna King as the Baker and the Baker’s Wife respectively, and sophomores Chloe Reyes as Cinderella and Riley Mawhorter as Jack, has been rehearsing since February and lending hands to other elements of production.

“I think it’s probably one of the most ambitious shows in regards to our sets,” Casagran said. “At the beginning of the original, they used little houses for the households of the Baker and Wife, Cinderella, and Jack.”

Drama changed this and had the opening feature storybooks for the main characters, to make it appear as though these characters leave the page and venture into a three-dimensional forest.

Drama students have also worked to bring together a vast array of costumes, as well as master the show’s complicated songs, as they are accompanied by the DBHS orchestra.

“Stephen Sondheim takes the approach to music that has an actor reflecting the character’s the inner psychology, ” Casagran said.

The Witch in particular has songs that change key many times to reflect her emotional turbulence. These include “Stay with Me” and “The Last Midnight.”

“The meaning behind the music is so sad, but you can understand how [the Witch] feels,” Anijelo said. “There are great meanings in both of her songs.”

The performances will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week and next week.

Tickets are on sale at $12 for students and $15 for adults when bought during lunch at school. Students can buy tickets at www.seatyourself.biz/dbhsdrama or at the door, before the showing time.