by Mateo Biggs
Theatre Roanoke College has always been extremely gifted in bringing works of art to life, and this season is no different. The work of masterful Stephen Sondheim, in the musical “Into the Woods” by James Lapine, is coming to the stage of Olin Theatre. Before the musical opens on Nov. 18, Dr. Nelson Barre – director and professor of theatre at RC – generously gifted the Brackety-Ack the chance to interview the cast members of “Into the Woods.” Below are some of the responses given by the cast.
“It’s been an adjustment balancing everything with finally having in-person classes and rehearsals, being masked, and doing a musical,” said senior and assistant director Sarah Jane Ruppert, when asked about the challenges with this sort of production. For Leah Shaw, a freshman who plays Milky White and the Giant, everything has been an adjustment. “I’ve never done a show before, I’ve never done theater before, so I’d say the biggest challenge has been adjusting to doing something like this.”
Freshman Christopher Waugh, who plays both the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince, admitted that line memorization has been a challenge. “As anyone can tell you, Sondheim can write tongue twisters that can drive you up the wall…but I love a challenge.” Junior Molly Allison – who plays the Narrator – shared a different struggle. “The main challenge has been getting an intake of air through the masks when we are working,” she said.
The cast also responded to questions about their relationships with their castmates. “It’s just been building ever since our table work, and it’s been amazing seeing everyone grow while their voices develop alongside their characters,” said senior Ryan Bennet, who plays the Baker. Freshman Bronte Micek, who plays Florinda, said her relationships with the rest of her castmates have been wonderful. “I’ve made some good friends through this,” she said.
Senior Annalee Thompson, who plays the Witch, said that working with director Barre has been great. “The one bad thing with working with Nelson is that he likes to climb things, and it is scary,” she said. Senior Hunter Andrews, who is an understudy for the princes, had more good things to say. “He’s super helpful, and it’s been a lot of fun working with him.”
Finally, what do the cast members want their audience to take away from the production? “You don’t always get the deeper meanings in productions,” said Jordan Rearick, a sophomore who plays Little Red. “I just want them to understand the in-betweens of life.” Sophomore Jake Dellinger, who plays Jack (“the bean man”), brought the focus back to the weeks of rehearsal that will go into bringing this show to life. “I want people to understand the work that goes into productions like this,” he said.