By Jacob Mayforth
Last year the music department of Homer High put on the rock musical Rent, bringing crowds and wild applause to the Theater. Such was the success that Mark Robinson, the musical director for the past two decades, decided to expand his top three favorite musicals to four. Now the choir is following last year’s crowd pleasing performance with Into the Woods, a musical that twists fairy tales together and smudges the line between story and reality.
“I like it a lot better than Rent,” said John Walsworth, a sophomore and leading role in the musical, “I’ve seen a lot of musicals at Homer High, all the rock ballads we have done, but the music in Into the Woods is either really light or big and powerful. Especially the muted trumpets which I find hilarious every time”.
The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, while making references to several others. The musical started on Broadway in 1987, and was brought back in 2002 with a revival cast. Along the way it has received the Tony Award for Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actress, and in 1991 it was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical; now it has made its way to Homer High.
“It’s a brilliant book and a brilliant score,” said Owen Duffy, playing the part of the Narrator. “I love it, but the length of the musical is its double-edged sword. We can’t have a three hour show and it forces us to cut it, and the script has a lot of messages and subtleties that are lost if not cut carefully. I want people to be dazzled by this performance.”
Despite the changes, both Walsworth and Duffy agree that Into the Woods is more fun than last year’s musical, Rent.
“Rent was a really sad story, and that showed in rehearsal. This musical shines a really cool light on old fables and those recognizable fairy tales make it more fun to practice,” said Owen.
The Musical opens on Friday, 3/22 with a preview performance on the day before, and special discounts are available for parents.