A Magical Performance

You should hate yourself if you didn’t go see the Collegiate fall musical, Into The Woods.

dabney_161026_8711Written by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods follows the story of a baker and his wife as they try to collect items in order to have a child, and what happens after they achieve their “happily ever after.” With a large cast and extensive behind the scenes work, the fall musical always involves a large part of the student body. According to the actors, crew members, and pit orchestra performers, Into the Woods was a much harder show to put on than some of Collegiate’s other musicals, but it was still a phenomenal success. Here’s why.

The Acting

It’s a privilege to be able to know the actors before seeing the show because you can appreciate the similarities and differences between them and their character. I thought both the casting for the show and the acting were incredible.

I’m still a little unclear about who the “Mysterious Man” really was, but Bo Little (‘17) captured the elusive role perfectly with his nervous laugh, shrill voice, and sly movements.

I can’t think of anyone better to play the role of the Baker’s Wife than Margaret Wadsworth (‘17). Her character’s strong-willed and defiant nature echoed parts of Wadsworth’s off-stage personality, and the certainty in her actions on stage brought her character to life.


Looming over the innocent Little Red Riding hood, Destana Herring (‘17) channeled the Wolf expertly, making me question whether I would be safe from his sharp teeth in the fifth row.  

Being the educated and engaged storyteller of the production, the role of Narrator could not have been more suitable to Price Withers (‘17) than if Withers had actually played himself.  

The Music

I left Oates Theater with the songs of Into the Woods stuck in my head. I found myself humming the catchy tune of “Into the Woods, Into the Woods,” which was sung several times throughout the show, constantly from my car ride home until I went to bed that night. The musical numbers were not only made great by the talented performers, but also the dedicated pit orchestra players.

On the clarinet, the legendary John “Iron Bull” Bullock (‘17) noted, “the work in the pit this year has been much harder for me… this year I’ve had to play 60 or 70 songs, which is different.” You couldn’t tell that the music was harder to play, though. The orchestra executed each piece seamlessly, sounding every bit like a professional orchestra, as opposed to a medley of teachers, professionals, and sleep-deprived high schoolers.

dabney_161026_8843Each musical number added something different to the performance as a whole. Although I enjoyed them all, one of my favorites was “Agony,” performed by Zach Bostic (‘18) and Matthew Barbieri (‘19), playing Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince, respectively. The number, which was performed in both acts, added comedic relief to the show, as they were describing their feelings towards their love interests, and the song allowed the audience to get to know the two characters better as they expressed their feelings. I found myself among good company as I was laughing during the song.

The Hair

dabney_161026_8250I would be remiss if I failed to mention one last aspect of the play that made it great: the hair. From Rapunzel’s long locks, which according to Sonja Kapadia (‘17), who played Rapunzel, felt like 15 pounds, to the Mysterious Man’s disheveled mop, the Into the Woods hair game was strong. Whoever styled Annie Mahoney’s (‘19) perfectly even and curled pigtails deserves some major kudos, along with who ever helped Bobbie Edmunds (‘17) get into (and out of) her Witch wig. Other coiffures to note include Caroline Campos, (‘18), Selam Herring (‘19), and Emma Blackwood’s (‘20) impressive updos and Wadsworth’s expertly braided hair.


Overall, the performance of Into the Woods reflected all of the hard work that went into its making. The Collegiate students’ commitment to the show given their schoolwork is impressive, and it is also worth noting the dedicated faculty who were behind the show’s magic: Mike Boyd, Jon Shelley, Kate Parthemos, Zach Townsend, Bryan Hooten, and Steve Perigard, along with other parent and faculty volunteers. Into the Woods was a terrific show, and I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy it.

All photos by Taylor Dabney.

About the author

Gillian is a senior at Collegiate.