All of Grimm’s fairy tales will come together on one stage this weekend, when Tomah Middle School presents the musical Into the Woods Jr.
The musical revolves around a baker and his wife who yearn to have children. However, the couple has been rendered infertile by a vengeful witch.
To break the spell, the witch demands four items: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as pure as gold. The obvious sources are Grimm’s iconic characters: Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella, and they all have their own stories.
“It’s about a bunch of fairy tales coming together because they all want something,” said Kamryn Murray, who plays the witch.
Director Lisa McCormick has always wanted to produce the musical, which has a relatively small cast of 20 actors.
Most of the lines are delivered in song, and, unlike most musicals, the production has few chorus numbers. A narrator (Aidan Craig) fills the story gaps to keep the plot moving.
“This is a very small cast, and everyone has a story to tell,” McCormick said. “I was looking for people who can handle a solo and carry the stage on their own. It’s mostly music − very little speaking parts in the show.”
It’s a production that whisks through multiple scene changes.
“It’s very fast paced,” said Adam Johnson, who plays the baker. “The scenes are always changing ... there’s a lot of teamwork in this.”
Ava McKie, who plays Cinderella, advised audiences to stay alert.
“I hope the audience doesn’t miss anything, because it is really fast,” McKie said.
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Students said they like the opportunity to play colorful, expressive and often funny characters.
Murray said portraying a witch is a new experience for her.
“She’s very mean, and I’ve played just nice people before,” she said.
Madelyn McNulty plays the baker’s wife. She describes her character as “very bipolar.”
“She’s very happy in some scenes but she gets really angry in others,” McNulty said.
Lucas Salzwedel said the songs contain much of the humor.
“There are many little comedy things in all of the songs,” Salzwedel said. “The princes are really funny.”
McCormick said the “junior” version of the play is more suitable for a family audience. She said the cast was enthusiastic about the production from the start.
“Because it’s a smaller cast, they’ve caught on to the story line a lot faster,” she said. “They really learned it early on and have been able to hone in on what their character is.”
McNulty said the musical delivers a positive message.
“In the end, we come together and learn from our differences and all learn to work together to get what we want,” she said.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.