VWU goes into the woods

“Into the Woods”, Virginia Wesleyan’s upcoming fall play will go on Oct. 25-29. “Into The Woods” was written by James Lapine in 1986. The musical combines the stories of many fairy tale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, played by Emilee Caldbeck. Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk,” played by Michael McOsker; Cinderella, played by Abigail Horgan; and Rapunzel, played by Taryn Nunley; as well as several other fairytale characters.

The many fairytale characters come together by having wishes that they want to be granted. Jack wishes for his cow to give him milk, Cinderella wants to go to the King’s Festival and the Baker, played by Nich Hipple, wishes for him and his wife to have a child. As the musical goes on, each character goes on their own journey to make their wish come true. In the end, all of the fairytale characters have their wishes come true, but they all end up learning a lesson because of them.

Ahead of the show, the theatre department put together a panel to discuss the presence of morals in the musical. The panelists included English professor Dr. Susan Larkin, theatre professor and director of the musical production Dr. Sally Shedd and senior Julie Ainsley. During the panel, which was moderated by junior Kerstin Holman, the panelists as well as members of the audience had a lively discussion on the different morals that are evident throughout the musical. For example, the belief that no one is ever truly alone and the belief that just because you get what you want it doesn’t mean that what you got is good for you.

With the different morals that were discussed the question of happy endings was one that stuck out the most. Most fairy tales, if not all end with a happily-ever-after scenario; the princess marries the prince, the damsel in distress get rescued and everything is ok. “Into the Woods” challenges that happily ever after ideology. One thing that makes “Into the Woods” unique is the fact that although the musical brings together a lot of well-known fairytale characters, the musical doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending. All of the characters eventually get what they wish for, but all of them learn that even though they can wish for whatever they want, what they end up with might not always be the right thing for them. The show has had lots of buzz prior to its opening. Out of the six performances that will be put on, one of the show times sold out more than a week before opening night. There are many people who are excited for the show. Sophomore Azania Inman, who plays Jack’s Wife in the musical, stated that she loves “Into the Woods.”

“The show itself is so complex and amazing.” With all of the excitement surrounding the show Inman hopes that, “even though there are a hundred things you can get from the play, hopefully people will understand that even in the midst of so much confusion, if you’re able to make a connection with someone you will never be alone.”

“Into the Woods” hopes to give audiences a twist on many fairy tales that they all know and love. With a few wishes and a little bit of magic, “Into the Woods” will leave a lasting impression on all who come to see it.

Cynthia Griffin