The Thacher Masquers recently staged the complicated and dark musical, Into the Woods. The plot draws from several Grimm Brothers fairy tales with characters from Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel appearing in the story. As Greg Haggard, chair of the Arts Department and director of the Music Program, said, “This is an ensemble piece. There is no chorus. Every person on the stage plays a specific character. Everyone had to give their all.”
The production is considered one of the more challenging musicals to stage because the songs, by Stephen Sondheim, are complex and everything (even the set changes) are timed to them. Mr. Haggard was impressed by the commitment and dedication the students displayed in order to tackle the book. “We rehearsed at 9 p.m.; the students were tired, but they concentrated and worked hard. All of them! Even a freshman who had two spoken lines and two lines in a song showed up and showed up and showed up. We also had three students in the pit with the professional musicians,” he added. “The cello players, Jennifer ’22 and James ’20, carried their part without a professional musician to support them. That was a first for our department.”
Tracey Williams Sutton, the director of the play, was once again pleased to witness how the seniors worked closely with younger students. “We had lots of freshmen who wanted to work as stage hands. The seniors made it interesting for the underclassmen, mentored them, and passed the baton.”
This year, Grandparents and Special Friends Days were moved adjacent to the winter musical weekend. That was a treat for the beloved guests and for the students who enjoyed the support of a particularly enthusiastic audience Saturday night. But the guests weren’t the only family members in the Milligan Center that night. “To create this piece of art, the ensemble united as a family,” said Ms. Williams Sutton. “To see the growth from the first day of rehearsal to closing night was a journey. We bonded and grew closer through the process.”
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