Academics
Arts

Middle School Performers Debut "Into the Woods Jr.", Return to In-Person Musicals

One year since adapting The Addams Family into a virtual musical experience, our Middle School performers returned to the Lower School auditorium this month with a spellbinding production of Into the Woods Jr., Calvert’s first in-person Middle School musical since the pandemic began. The cast and crew debuted the Middle School musical in a series of four shows between February 23 and February 26, beginning with two matinees for their classmates before opening the auditorium doors to family members.
More than 40 students participated in the production on stage and off alongside director Alexis Tantau, Calvert’s drama teacher and chorale director, and other staff and faculty members, including Sandry Sachar, Hannah Palmatary, Isabel Cooke, Owen Rossi, and Katie Leonard. Unlike last year, when health and safety restrictions caused Ms. Tantau and her team to pivot to a virtual experience, this year students were able to return to an in-person production.
 
Ms. Tantau reflected on the difference between this year and last, “While there is no question that last year’s production was full of enthusiastic and dedicated participants, the energy this year was palpable. It really is incredible to be making theatre together in person, and I know the students do not take it for granted.”
 
Adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical, Into the Woods Jr. weaves together the well-known tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and other prominent fables into a magical story that reminds us all we are not alone.
 
In the opening number, the students introduce an ensemble cast led by characters Cinderella (portrayed by Claire S. '23), Jack (Graham G. ’23 and Lane A. ’23), the Baker (Carson O. '23 and Masiah C. ’22), the Baker’s Wife (Allie K. ’22 and Charlotte H. ’24), Little Red Riding Hood (Bianca P. ’23 and Olivia D. ’24) and the Witch that ties their tales together (Miranda E. ’22).
 
As these six characters enter the woods to seek out their dreams, they meet Rapunzel (Esme I. ’23 and Julianne D. ’23) and her Prince (Forrest M. '23 and Julius P. ’23), the Wolf (CJ N. ’23 and Nico G. ’22), and Cinderella’s Prince (Jameson E. ’23 and Sammy L. '22), who repeatedly seeks her hand.
 
Eliza B. ’23 and Evan L. ’24 also star as the show’s Narrator, while Dylan H. ’24, Lindley B. ’24, Caroline N. ’24, Emmy M. ’24, Finley A. ’23, and Sarah N. ’23 appear as Jack’s Mother, Red Riding Hood’s Granny, Florinda, Lucinda, and Cinderella’s Stepmother, respectively. Caroline M. ’23 and Emerson P. ‘24 play Milky White, the pure-white cow that Jack takes to market.
 
“These are complex roles and Sondheim has composed rather difficult music; I am extremely proud of how our cast handled these challenges.” Ms. Tantau said.
 
Behind the scenes, students on the stage crew also created the show’s magnificent set pieces and worked tirelessly to bring the show to life, including assisting directors and creating promotional posters, costumes, and props. A brand-new lighting system in the Lower School Auditorium added an exciting element to the production. Owen Rossi learned the new system and shepherded Kellen G. ’24 and Bryce H. ’24 as they learned to design the lighting and execute cues throughout the show.
 
Congratulations to the Into the Woods Jr. cast and crew on a wonderful production! Thank you to Ms. Tantau, Ms. Leonard, Ms. Palmatary, Señora Sachar, Mr. Rossi, Ms. Cooke, the Calvert facilities team, Craig Luntz, Ann Gibson, John Babcock, and everyone who supported this year’s musical.
 
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Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.

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