Drama Takes Audiences Into The Woods

Audiences were enthralled by the incredible production by the Home Link Drama II group this May. The theater class brought “Into The Woods Jr.” to life and wowed audiences with an incredible set of performers.

A labor of love came to fruition this Mother’s Day weekend at Deer Park High School’s Ken Fisher Theater. Home Link Drama put on the musical “Into the Woods Jr.” The twenty-plus member cast and crew created an amazing show that left the crowds in awe. 

The schedule was already tight, with only 5 hours a week for most of the cast to practice. Several rehearsals were lost due to spring break and state testing. However, the students took the challenge head-on, and teacher/director, Jessica Emmans, molded the ensemble to bring this ambitious project to the stage.

Based on the hit Broadway play “Into the Woods,” the Junior version is merely abridged. The story follows a handful of familiar fairy tales all jumbled together. Characters appeared from “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Jack And The Beanstalk.” Fair maidens Cinderella and Rapunzel also show up; each accompanied by their charming, yet conceited, princes. In the center of the chaos is a baker and his wife who just want to have a baby, but first, they have to undo a magic spell placed on them by the neighborhood witch.

As the curtain opens, three simultaneous scenes are playing out on stage. Gradually, they are melded into one story. Leading the way to help the audience keep track of all the happenings was the Narrator, performed by Gerrit Chambers. 

Every performer contributed so much to the production, but there were a handful of stand-out actors.

Brenna Vogel, as Little Red Riding Hood, stole every scene she was in. Her vocal abilities and stage presence were captivating. Expressive and perfectly timed to her musical cues, the young lady was truly astounding.

The Witch, brought to life by Elsa Lennartz, was also excellent. From her quick rhyming “rap” song about her garden greens to the emotive “Stay With Me,” her character was powerful. Even her spoken lines, and she had several, were clear and strong. Miss Lennartz’s talent is evident, and I hope to see her in many upcoming productions.

Easton Brittain, who played Jack, did extremely well bringing his young character to life. He was given a challenging solo to sing and rose to the occasion.

The yarn of the Baker and his Wife is used to tie all the other threads of the story together. Josiah Knox and Cadence Emmans carried the show as the leads and were fully immersed in their characters. These two were strong and well-chosen for the parts.

A special shoutout goes to the surprise appearance of the three little pigs. These young players brought down the house with laughter and cheers in every single performance. Well done!

A mention must be made of Crystelle Knox and her set design class. The set was complex. There were several flying pieces on rigging, as well as multiple layers of trees for the forest. Some items had been used in previous shows at the highschool, some were custom made for this one, and a few others were borrowed from the Woodland Theatre in Kettle Falls. All the time and effort paid off and took the show to the next level.

Each and every one of the performers demonstrated incredible professionalism. With the occasional mishaps or malfunctions that often beset live shows, the players pressed on. They said their lines, sang their songs and made their cues despite the handful of hiccups. This production was nothing short of magical and the whole cast and crew should be very proud of themselves. 

At the last performance, Home Link Drama’s graduating seniors were acknowledged. Sara Haynes, will be attending Eastern Washington University to study dental hygiene. Josiah Knox, anticipates pursue an engineering degree at the University of Idaho. Alyson Vander Mey, plans to finish her AA degree and major in Physical Therapist Assisting. Each of these seniors has had years of remarkable performances in the Homelink Drama Program.

If you missed seeing “Into the Woods, Jr” or just want a copy of your own. You can buy a DVD or digital copy on a thumb drive from KDK Productions at: DPGazette.com/qtm7y

The entire cast of Into The Woods Jr. are as follows: Gerrit Chambers, Josiah Knox, Cadence Emmans, Sophia Emmans, Sara Haynes, Rebecca Basta, Gunner Olsen, Gabriella Wood, Stefani Liddell, Samuel Chambers, Easton Brittain, Sophia Hunsaker, Keturah Knox, Elsa Lennartz, Brenna Vogel, Stefani Liddell, Kaden Vogel, Aubrey Longly, Samuel Emmans, Martin Schut, Tehillah Knox, Meghan Vogel, Amalia Emmans, Renee Quinn

Crystelle Knox Home Link Set Design class team members are as follows: Gerrit Chambers, Samuel Chambers, Easton Brittain, Cadence Emmans, Micaiah Knox, Wyatt Miller, Tehillah Knox, Laela Lennartz, Kayleen Lennartz

Sources:

  • Program for Into the Woods, jr at the Kenneth M. Fisher Performing Arts Center, Deer Park, WA. 2024.
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