‘Maybe They’re Magic’

NDSU’s Theatre program shines with the production of ‘Into the Woods’

JUSTIN EILER | Photo Courtesy
Laura Jensen took on the role of Red Riding Hood in NDSU’s production of ‘Into the Woods.’

I am no expert on musicals. Neither am I an expert on writing about musicals. However, it seemed criminal to not give proper praise to such a well-acted, costumed and designed musical as NDSU Theatre’s “Into the Woods.”

What drew me to the production was that one of my friends was a lead actor and another was backstage. This gave a bias already coming into the show. However, this is the perspective of a normal theatre attendee, as oftentimes there is some connection a general audience member may have to the play before they enter the theatre.

The story, in sum

The story of “Into the Woods” revolves around several fairy tails as they intertwine with one another. It starts with a humble baker and his wife (Casey Hennessy and Kate Allen, respectively), encountering Red Riding Hood (Laura Jensen), then being confronted by the Witch (Abigail Walker), moving on to Jack (of the beanstalk, played by Elijah O’Sullivan) and also Cinderella (Ciara Spade)…

To sum up the story, just imagine mixing classic fairy tales together and you’re sure to come up with some idea of how these plots could collide.

Standout songs

O’Sullivan showed off his pipes as Jack, nailing quite a few moments including a solo performance of “Giants in the Sky.”

Zach Christensen, playing the Wolf, provided a short but captivating performance. He delivered an eerie and convincing duet with Jensen’s Little Red Riding Hood called “Hello, Little Girl.”

“Agony,” performed by two lovesick princes: Brady Ritland, Cinderella’s Prince and Seth Brandl, Rapunzel’s Prince, was another show-stopper (not literally, of course).

“No One is Alone” provided a touching moment featuring Spade, Jensen, O’Sullivan and Hennessy playing the characters previously mentioned.

The Narrator/Mysterious Man Micah Nicolai tied the story together smoothly, while Allen and Curry drove the plot along with ease. The performance of the Finale in Act I and Act II was captivating, and the choreography was smooth.

‘Moments in the Woods’

To put one performance above the rest would be a shame to the brilliance of each individual. Thus, mention will be made of a few fun moments.

Maddie Johnson, playing the cow Milky White, provided a wonderful comic relief. She let her face do most of the acting, as cows do not speak even in fairy tales.

Sophia Richards did a wonderful job acting like a flock of birds. One bird fell off its string mid-performance, and Richards managed to gracefully kick it off-stage to the enamor of the crowd.

Walker showcased a convincing performance as the Witch and managed to terrify a couple of audience members in the balcony, one of which happened to be yours truly.

Costume, set and lighting

The costume design, led by Raffi Ferreira, was likewise very well done. This was highlighted by the Witch’s costumes before and after transforming, the Wolf’s ensemble and the unique costume for Milky White.

The set design, led by Tiffany Fier, also looked to have taken a tremendous amount of effort, from a great background set of trees with a couple of houses to a movable tower and a falling giant’s hand.

Sound and lighting were spot-on, and the pit was conducted “to a T” on many key moments.

The Theatre program shined in its production of “Into the Woods,” hitting strides in all departments from costume to song. If you have time, go see their next production, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” coming in April/May.

If you are lacking time, as many are, it would be wise and worth it to find some in order to see what this program has next to offer.

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