STP Preview: ‘Into the Woods Jr.’

Theatre major Kelcie Christenson’s senior theatre project “Into the Woods Jr.” will be performed March 19 in Alford Auditorium. Christenson’s “Into the Woods Jr.” is a condensed version of “Into the Woods,” made popular by the movie release in 2014.

“It takes a lot of fairy tales that we’ve grown up hearing and puts them in one story,” director Drew Poplin, a senior, said.

“Into the Woods Jr.” combines the stories of popular characters like Cinderella and Rapunzel and follows them as they each make one wish.

“It’s like taking the normal stereotype fairy tales and then making something completely new and intricate and different,” Christenson said. 

Each character has a different wish.

Cinderella, played by senior Victoria Boward, wants to go to the ball to find a prince. Rapunzel, also played by Boward, wishes that she could escape her castle and find adventure. The Baker (sophomore Remy Patterson) and his wife, played by Christenson, try to lift a curse that the Witch (junior Rachel Rowland) placed upon them that keeps them from having children. Red (senior Emily Jenks) is trying to bring food to her Granny (Rachel Rowland). Jack (senior Johnathan Coraccio) is a young boy trying to help his poor mother (Rachel Rowland).

As the characters go on their journeys through the woods, they encounter other familiar characters, such as the Wolf (senior Benjamin Wilkinson), Cinderella’s wretched family, several princes, and more. As each story connects with another, senior Luke Bullis narrates the play.

“All these people go on one journey, and how they find what they’re looking for is by going into the woods,” Christenson said.

It was a long journey that led Christenson to choose this story, she said, beginning with her choice to become a theatre major. She began her college career as an undeclared student, but she had an interest in theatre.

“I was interested in the theatre major and I wanted to take classes,” Christenson said. “But for some reason, I couldn’t take any theatre classes without becoming a theatre major first. So, I said, ‘Well, I’ll just become a theatre major and if I don’t like it, I’ll drop it.’”

And now she’s graduating from the program. 

When it came time to choose a show, Christenson said she had a few requirements, one of which was that she wanted to do a musical.

“I wish we did more musicals here at Cedarville because I think they have a lot to say, but it’s a fun way to say it,” she said.

Christenson said it was her love of fairy tales that led her to “Into the Woods Jr.” She also said she loves the way the play twists the familiar fairy tales into something else.

Once she chose her show, Christenson said she began looking for her crew. In addition to Poplin as director, Christenson recruited junior music education major Kirsten Saur as musical director, upon recommendation from Beth Porter, chair of the music and worship department. Juniors Katie Gilbert and Raven Simmons are stage manager and assistant stage manager for the show, respectively.

While many students auditioned for the show, much of the cast is fairly new at acting, Poplin said.

“The majority of the cast are not theatre majors, and a fair amount of them have not really been involved in a show, or at least to this extent,” he said.

However, with a new cast comes new excitement. 

“It was really cool working with people who came in with excitement and who really wanted to learn, being very teachable. We ended up casting some lovely people. They’re very energetic,” Poplin said.

Christenson said that she wanted to add many different elements into the show, so the show includes unique costume design and lighting.

Christenson said she invites the Cedarville community to come learn that “you have to work for what you wish for.”

Entry is free, and the show begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19.

Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a junior music composition major and arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. He enjoys all kinds of writing, whether it be with musical notes or descriptive words.

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