Gleneagle Secondary will have an extra special show when it opens Into the Woods next week.
Not only will the musical be the first live production for the Coquitlam high school since 2019 — due to the COVID-19 pandemic — but it’ll also be a tribute to the esteemed theatre’s creator.
Last fall, as the student cast of 21 and crew of 27 were beginning to rehearse and get the materials ready for the stage, the musical composer Stephen Sondheim died on Nov. 26, 2021.
The three lead characters, portrayed by Indah Del Bianco (Little Red Riding Hood), Elizabeth Maller (The Witch) and Jewel Epp (Cinderella), said the news of Sondheim’s death rattled the team.
“It was a shock,” said Maller, whose father, Justin, is the show director and school drama teacher.
“It wasn’t something that we were expecting, but it made us appreciate his legacy even more.”
The narrative for Into the Woods follows characters from a few Brothers Grimm fairy tales, namely Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella, and others.
But it also delves into another imaginary world: What happens to them once their tales ends?
Their fates are intertwined through a fantasy that is told through a childless baker and his wife who want to have a family, but they suffer because The Witch has placed a curse on them.
“I feel like a lot of people would like the show because it goes back to childhood stories,” Maller, 17, told the Tri-City News during a rehearsal last week. “It’s tied together with wonderful music.”
“It also has some really powerful messages,” said Del Bianco, 16, a Grade 11 student. “Luckily, we were able to get a chance to dig deep into the lyrics and script, and find out the many layers.”
“It’s just magical,” added Epp, who is one of three students teaching the vocals for the musical.
All three students said they were pleased to get the parts they wanted after the auditions. Each had seen the show and watched the 2014 Disney adaptation featuring Meryl Streep as The Witch.
For tickets to Into the Woods at Gleneagle Secondary (1195 Lansdowne Dr., Coquitlam) on May 4–6 and May 11–13, visit Showtix4U.com and type in “Gleneagle” in the search bar. Alternatively, call the school at 604-464-5793 for more information about the production and for tickets.