The halls of St. Amant High School rang with the sound of music as students rehearsed on a recent Wednesday afternoon for their upcoming production of “Into the Woods,” a musical written by composer Stephen Sondheim.
It’s the first musical at the school in 10 years, said theater teacher Selby Boriel, who is directing the play.
It is only coincidence that they decided to perform the play only a month after the film adaptation by James Lapine was released, Boriel said.
The play has been a labor of love for Boriel, who has always wanted to produce the play.
“The most fulfilling part of the production is seeing the students love what I love so much,” Boriel said.
Students have been excited to participate and have worked hard, Boriel said.
Casting for the play began in September and rehearsals began in October, Boriel said. “The most challenging part of the production was getting the word out, getting people from the student body to audition and dedicate themselves,” assistant director Noelle Baker said.
Boriel is hopeful that the success of this production will lead to a better turnout at future auditions, especially if another musical is produced.
In addition to students’ efforts in making the musical a reality, faculty and family members have joined in the act, Boriel said. Parents of students participating in the play helped create scenery, make costumes and help with dynamics, Boriel said, emphasizing the community effort that has gone into the high school production.
“People say it takes a village to raise a child, but I say it takes a country to produce a play,” Boriel said.
“Into the Woods” is “all fairy tales wrapped up in one musical,” said Boriel, who has been teaching at St. Amant High School for the past two years. The play, according to Boriel, is full of good messages.
The school is staging “Into the Woods Junior,” an abridged version of the original Broadway production, which is three hours in length.
“I feel it’s necessary to do the junior version, because it’s Stephen Sondheim. The original would be a mammoth undertaking,” Boriel said.
Carleigh Keller, a senior in the starring role as the Witch, said she is excited to perform in the school’s first musical.
“I made a bunch of new friends, and I’ve enjoyed seeing everybody relating to their roles,” Keller said.
Narrator Quinton Williams, a junior, said the most exciting part of the production for him has been watching Keller become the Witch. “She brings so much personality to the role,” Williams said.
Both Keller and Williams expressed the joys and difficulties they have faced throughout the production. Keller struggled to find the balance between playing a selfish witch yet a loving mother, she said. Williams worked diligently to improve the voice of his narrator, he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all the work we’ve put in come together,” Baker said.
Most importantly, Boriel and her students all stressed the importance of the message that “Into the Woods” conveys.
“The message is be happy with what you have and try not to want more,” said Williams said.
“I’m looking forward to people understanding the message,” Keller said.
“Into the Woods Junior” is running at St. Amant High School at 7 p.m. on Jan. 28-30. Tickets are $5 and go on sale at 6 p.m. each day of the musical.