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Cappies: 'Moment in the Woods' at MICDS

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 14, 2013 - Fairytales take people into a magnificent, mysterious world they never imagined. Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School took the audience “Into the Woods,” introducing characters of many classic tales. Complete with gorgeous sets, beautiful costumes and catchy tunes, the production received much-deserved applause from the crowd.

“Into the Woods” opened on Broadway in 1987. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the musical went on to win several Tony Awards. The musical connects the lives of characters from “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Cinderella,” among many others.

The story begins as a baker and his wife embark on a journey to break a witch’s curse that forbids them from having a child. However, the tale darkens as the characters are left to survive the wrath of an evil giant, and they must figure out how to overcome blame and instead focus on the greater good. MICDS delivered a well-rehearsed, engaging performance that made for a wonderful evening.

The talented cast featured many outstanding performers. The Baker’s Wife (Olivia Gacka) perfectly conveyed her longing to be a mother, making the audience laugh at times and sympathize with her at others. The Baker (John Dunagan) demonstrated courage and strength while searching for the objects that would break the witch’s dreaded curse on his family. The witch (Katherine Bush) portrayed her quirky character with ease, never failing to bring energy to her impressive performance.

Cinderella (Madi Cupp-Enyard) had a powerful stage presence, while impressing the audience with her strong vocals. Jack (John Rush) was easy to adore, for he perfectly portrayed his character’s young, naive demeanor. He, along with his beloved cow Milky White (Peter Condie), made a great team. Especially notable were Cinderella’s Prince (Alex Bush) and Rapunzel’s Prince (Alexander Schroeder). There was not a straight face in the audience during their duet “Agony.” They both delivered comedic lines with ease, while depicting the arrogance and confidence of a prince. Little Red Riding Hood (Molly Pfefferkorn) stood out, perfectly depicting her young, but witty and courageous character.

The technical aspects of the production were impressive. The beautiful sets allowed the story to come to life, complete with shadowy trees in the forest and a separate set unique to each character’s story. The lighting was also notable, for it perfectly captured the mood throughout the show, becoming mysterious during the witch’s intense rap song and ominous in the woods during nightfall. The beautiful costumes completed the “fairytale” look and the lavish wigs of the step-sisters Lucinda (Nora Chapin-Eppert) and Florinda (Aksharra Narra) also stood out.

There was truly not a weak link in the cast, for each performer brought energy and heart to his or her character. Though annunciation could have been slightly improved at times, the cast quickly made up for this with beautiful harmonies and lively dance numbers.

MICDS delivered a wonderful production of “Into the Woods,” proving that many adventures await in the woods, and “No One is Alone.”

Olivia Ellis is a student at Nerinx Hall High School. The Cappies prgram works with students who review high school theatrical productions.