"Once upon a time, in a far-off kingdom, there lived a young maiden, a sad young lad, and a childless baker with his wife." And so begins "Into the Woods," the Tony Award-winning musical that Herndon High School will present this May. "Into the Woods," with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, describes the story of a baker and his wife who desperately desire a child. Unfortunately, an evil witch who lives next door has placed a spell on the baker, and until he meets the enchantress's demands, the curse will not be reversed. The baker sets off into the woods in search of "a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold" in order to break the spell. Along the way, he encounters many familiar fairy tale characters, including Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel.
While it may sound like a simple childhood fairy tale, "Into the Woods" contains enough wit, satire, scandal, and genuine drama to entertain audience members of all ages. Like most fairy tales, "Into the Woods" has a moral. In Act I, all of the characters interact with one another, stealing and cheating their way towards happiness. In Act II, however, the characters must unite in order to combat the consequences of their conniving ways.
Anyone familiar with Stephen Sondheim's shows know that the music is quite challenging, yet very entertaining. "Into the Woods" features both fresh and familiar faces, continuing Herndon's strong tradition of theatrical excellence. This show is the third musical production for faculty director John Whapham in his second year at Herndon. Whapham admits that directing this show at the high school level has been a dream of his for quite a long time. "It's a fun show with a great message," says Whapham.
"Into the Woods" is Herndon High School's entry in the Cappies theatre program. Cappies is a nation-wide program that was created by Capitol Steps' leader Bill Strauss in an attempt to acknowledge the talent of high school actors. Area high schools submit one show every year, and students from other local schools come and critique the shows. The reviews are then published in local and school newspapers. Every June, there is a Cappies Gala at the Kennedy Center where awards are given for outstanding student performances and technical achievement. Herndon's past Cappie success began in 2000 with their production of "Singin' in the Rain," which earned a total of five awards including Best Musical.
Herndon will be presenting "Into the Woods" over the course of two weekends, May 7-8 and May 14-15. With talented students and brand new lighting and sound systems at Herndon, "Into the Woods" promises to be one journey that you'll remember long after you've left the Herndon auditorium.