UMD theater presents musical ‘Into the Woods’

 Amelia Barr (bottom),  Lauren Hugh (Left), Cally Stanich (Middle), and Chenoa Depoppe (Right) pose during rehearsals. Photo by Jakob Bermas

Amelia Barr (bottom),  Lauren Hugh (Left), Cally Stanich (Middle), and Chenoa Depoppe (Right) pose during rehearsals. Photo by Jakob Bermas

UMD theater department is staging the musical “Into the Woods” directed by Ann Bergeron.

The story follows characters from infamous fairy tales such as “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” Little Red Riding Hood,” and more.

“It brings all these fairy tale characters together, there is integration of all these stories,” Bergeron said.

The musical does not follow the normal fairy tale; it takes a different look into the stories and the characters.

 Jake Nelson and Jenessa Iverson during rehearsals. Photo by Jakob Bermas

Jake Nelson and Jenessa Iverson during rehearsals. Photo by Jakob Bermas

“Into the Woods is a metaphor for going in and out of the woods psychologically…[we look] into the psychological journeys that these characters take,” Bergeron said. “As human beings we go in and out of the woods throughout our lives, there are complications, there are discoveries, we learn things and face our fears.”

A darker tone is present in act two of the play, even after the characters have achieved their happily ever after.

“There's greed, there's revenge, there's adultery,” Bergeron said, “All those come into play in the second act that we don't think about when we read fairy tales.”

Senior Amelia Barr plays Cinderella in the play.

“In the first act they all get what they want, but for some reason they are unhappy in the second act because they have already gotten what they wanted,” Barr said. “[Cinderella] is searching for something more, something that she thinks she needs.”

Attaining happiness and saving it is a key theme in Bergeron's “Into the Woods.”

“Happily ever after has been handed down to us from our culture,” Bergeron said. “[We] think that we should all get the stagnant idea of happily ever after.”

Senior Alyson Enderle plays the Baker's Wife who struggles with being infertile.

“I've never tried to have kids, but I can imagine how devastated I'd be if someone told me and my husband that we couldn't,” Enderle said. “There are things that I have wanted just as badly, through this kind of shared emotion...actors connect with their characters in a beautiful and genuine way.”

A challenge for both Barr and Enderle were following the musical demands of music director Andy Kust.

“I have done quite a few musicals but this is definitely the most challenging,” Barr said. “It is so specific, there is no wiggle room for interpretation.”

Learning the music prior to rehearsals was a big part of getting ready to start practice.

“‘Into the Woods’ has so many nuances and motifs that before you perform it, you have to analyze it very carefully,” Enderle said.

 Camryn Buelow (top), Amelia Barr, and Rachel Williams pose during rehearsal. Photo by Jakob Bermas

Camryn Buelow (top), Amelia Barr, and Rachel Williams pose during rehearsal. Photo by Jakob Bermas

For Barr and Enderle, “Into the Woods” is their last performance at UMD. Both of their first plays were directed by Ann Bergeron.

“It's amazing to share my last show with Ann,” Enderle said. “The wonderful thing about Ann is that she trusts her actors. She allows us to create our own version of the character, but then reins us back when we need it.”

Barr relates her acting in "Into the Woods" with her journey after graduation.

“It could not have been a more timely show for me and the rest of the senior cast,” Barr said. “I'm going into uncharted territory. [The show] was a challenge but it was a great thing to tackle as a senior.”

“Into the Woods” is playing at the Marshall Performing Arts Center April 12 to 14 and 18 to 21 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on April 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets and pricing information can be found on their website.