Featuring a cast and crew of about 50, Chantilly High presents its Cappies show, “Into the Woods.” In this popular musical, several fairytales start to intertwine and, by the end of act one, the characters get their happy endings. But act two brings an unexpected twist and the story takes a dark turn.
The curtain rises, Wednesday-Saturday, April 27, 28, 29 and 30, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, adults; $10, students; at the door or via www.chantillyhsdrama.com – where people may choose their seats.
“The music is absolutely beautiful, and the songs just spring organically out of the scenes,” said Director Andy Shaw. “And people will really love all these characters. Musically, it’s the most challenging score I’ve done since I’ve been here, and the mature script has incredibly complex characters.
“But the cast is amazing and works so well as an ensemble in building the relationships so crucial to this play. And they’re tackling this difficult text with such maturity and professionalism.”
Each act starts in the main characters’ homes, and then the audience is transported to the woods. And since all different social statuses are represented, the costumes range from rags to beautiful dresses and cloaks.
The show’s message, explained Shaw, is the importance of understanding different points of view. “We all think we’re the hero of our own stories,” he said. “But what does it mean to think about other people’s stories and their perspectives?”
Senior Alyssa Dausch portrays Cinderella. “Even though her stepfamily is mean to her, she’s very kind and is always willing to help them,” said Dausch. “She dreams about running away, going to the ball and living a grander life. But when she’s actually faced with her dream life, she’s indecisive and doesn’t know if she wants it.”
Loving her role, Dausch relates to Cinderella’s “general attitude of making good out of what you have, plus her indecision. I’ve always liked playing the fairytale princess, but I like that there’s more depth to her and she has a new challenge to face. My favorite song is ‘Steps of the Palace.’ I sing it when Cinderella’s faced with the choice of staying with the prince or going back to her old life. It’s really pretty and so fun to sing, and it’s a big moment of development in her story.”
Dausch said the audience will like seeing stories they’re familiar with, but with a twist and a more complex message. “The characters must figure out how to deal with loss,” she said. “And how do we decide if someone’s good or bad and determine right from wrong – and what to do with that information?”
Playing the Witch from “Rapunzel” is senior Sydney Schneider. “She’s very protective of Rapunzel and really cares about things,” said Schneider. “She’s a blunt person and knows what’s right and what’s wrong. She’s also a good leader, but no one listens to her. And throughout the show, she represents an over-sheltering mother to Rapunzel.”
Schneider, too, enjoys her part because “There are so many different aspects to her character. I get to change from being an ugly witch to a really glamorous one. I even change her voice and posture. So it’s like playing two different characters, but with the same power. She’s a strong character and is just her unapologetic self – all-knowing in the way she sees the world – and that’s amazing and fantastic.”
Schneider especially likes the song, “Goodbye, Old Friend,” sung by Christian Schopp as Jack (of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’). “It’s the perfect blending of hilarity and sadness,” she said. “It’s a quick and funny song and encapsulates what the show is about.”
She said attendees will like this play’s spectacle because there’s so much to see. “When the whole cast is onstage, it’s just magical,” said Schneider. “People will love the show’s heart – every single character is so genuine in everything they say and do. And the costumes and music are wonderful.”
“There are so many different parts and motifs of the story that come together perfectly,” she continued. “It’s like a huge puzzle of an ensemble cast that just fits flawlessly. People will be thinking about this show after they leave, and they’ll realize the meaning and brilliance of what they just saw. It’s about the consequences of your actions and wondering what’s the right thing to do – and is there even a right thing?”
Junior Ren Lagasse portrays Little Red (Riding Hood). “She’s an ambitious little girl who’s brave and has to go through some frightening experiences on her own,” said Lagasse. “At the beginning, she’s just trying to live her life and bring some sweets to Granny. But when she meets the wolf, it changes her and makes her lose trust in people.”
“I love playing pushy, sarcastic characters,” continued Lagasse. “Her story is interesting, and I like making it my own and putting it onto the stage. And I get to sing music ranging from lively uptempo to darker and slower. I really like ‘Your Fault.’ I’m one of five people singing it, and it’s one of the fastest and hardest songs in the show. Everyone’s angry and blaming each other for what’s going on; all their lives have been thrown into disarray.”
She said audiences seeing this show for the first time will be shocked at the change between the first and second acts. “They’ll like the chemistry between all the actors,” said Lagasse. “It’ll seem seamless when it’s performed, because everyone works so well together. And the music is so catchy, it’ll get stuck in people’s heads.”
Playing the Baker is senior Julien DaSilva. “He's a peasant who’s spent most of his life just trying to get by,” explained DaSilva. “He and his wife have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. Then a witch tells him he must first break the curse that’s been placed on his family by finding certain items. He’s spontaneous and awkward and trying to be the man of the house and a good father, but things aren’t working out as he’d wished.”
DaSilva is enjoying his role because “It’s the deepest character I’ve had. At the beginning, he’s happy and excited; but as things go wrong, he becomes broken. There’s so much behind his character that I really love getting into it. It tests my abilities as an actor.”
His favorite song is “No One is Alone,” which he sings to Jack while Cinderella sings it to Little Red, at the same time. “It’s such a sweet moment,” said DaSilva. “It shows a lot of character development and that they’ll get through everything together.”
“People know these fairytales, but not the depth of the characters,” he added. “And they’ll love Stephen Sondheim’s fluid music so beautifully intertwined in the story. So much happens in this show that it’s way more than just a fairytale.”