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Lyndonville and Medina schools team up to present ‘Into the Woods’

Posted 27 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – The Witch (Heather Mufford) places a curse on The Baker (Cameron Morgan) and his wife (Rebekah Hoffee) so that they can’t have children.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

LYNDONVILLE – The story of a fractured fairy tale comes to the Lyndonville auditorium stage as Lyndonville and Medina schools join efforts for the third year to give students a chance to perform and shine.

Medina cut its musical program due to budget constraints after the 2010-11 school year. That left no opportunity for the student performers in drama. However, administration from the two schools agreed that coordinating efforts would be a great opportunity for students from Lyndonville and Medina.

“I work with the music teachers at Medina, primarily Lisa Roeseler, and principal Mark Kruzynski,” said Jennifer Trupo of Lyndonville. She is both the overall director and the vocal director. “They help send messages and make announcements to their students.”

Cinderella (Hannah Albone) pleads to go to the festival, but her stepsisters, Florinda (Madison Boyle) and Lucinda (Madison Holland) and her stepmother (Briana Bellan) stop her. Seated on the steps during the practice was the narrator, seventh-grader Roy John Follman.

Kristina Best, Lyndonville band director for 7th to 12th grade, is the pit conductor for the second year in a row. She said the musicians practice as much as the cast and crew do. In the background Jack (Thomas Follman) is singing.

The schools also found that declining student enrollment meant a two-school production would have a bigger and better cast, crew and orchestra. The musical for this year is “Into the Woods.”

“There’s a spin to it,” Trupo said. “It’s several fairy tales combined into one.”

A baker and his wife want to have a baby, but a witch placed a curse on them, causing them to be barren. They must lift the curse in order to have a family. The witch requires four items to be collected on the third midnight from that day. The couple must find a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as pure as gold.

The items are found throughout the story with the appearance from the fairy tale characters of Jack of the tale Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella. Together, the baker and his wife attempt to get the items which are reluctant to be surrendered.

After the audition process, there would normally be call-backs to narrow down the roles for the students, but Trupo said that this year call-backs weren’t necessary and that each ended up cast in a part that was declared perfect based on individual strengths.

“The kids speak for themselves,” Trupo said. “They are very well suited for their roles.”

Cinderella’s Prince (Nate Pace) and Rapunzel’s Prince (Joseph Mangiola) sing about each of their chosen princesses and how magnificent the two women are.

The Wolf (Christian Hahn) is attempting to lure Little Red Riding Hood (Regan Stacey) into being eaten in the woods. The two perform an energetic dance number together as Red tries to escape his clutches.

Anyone who wants to participate is welcome. There was so much interest in the musical that an ensemble song was arranged to accommodate a large number of characters. Many characters that are not normally a part of this production were pulled from other “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” stories such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

The cast includes 41 students, with 14 in the crew 14, and eight students in the pit orchestra joined by music teachers. Trupo said the whole group is a good mix of Medina and Lyndonville students from seventh grade through the seniors.

The Medina students all carpooled together to rehearsal performances, as no alternative transportation is provided by the school. The rehearsals are also scheduled by Trupo as best as she can manage around the schools’ sports schedules.

Medina senior Deanna Mangiola plays Jack’s Mother. She is overbearing and insists that Jack (Thomas Follman) sell his cow Milky White (Devon Allen), his best friend in the whole world. “I had laryngitis during auditions,” Mangiola said. “Luckily, the week before we had a workshop and I got the nerves out.” She performed at the auditions anyway and was much more prepared and had a sense of confidence with her.

Senior Heather Mufford is a Lyndonville student cast in the role of The Witch. Mufford has been in theater since she was 11, and has been performing in any high school musical she possibly could, but still felt nervous when she went in for her audition.

“I went in with confidence after practicing the voice and scream of the witch,” said Mufford. She is looking to minor in theater in college. “I think I will always be doing community theater.”

Rapunzel (Jenna Brien) sings in her tower which alerts a prince to her presence.

As for the two schools working together, Mufford commented,” There is no school rivalry. I have some closer friends from Medina than Lyndonville.” She says that many of the students from both schools will meet to hang out outside of the performance season because they have bonded so well together.

The stage crew is also enthusiastic to be part of the performance. Lyndonville ninth-grader and first-time crew member Michael Busch is one of the students responsible for moving props between scenes. “I’m excited,” he said. “I was going to audition, but I was too busy the two days of auditions. I wanted to be on crew then because then I know I can still sort of be on the stage.”

Trupo is also excited that the school will have adjudicators from the Rochester Broadway Theatre League in the audience rating students on their acting, singing and dancing.

The students with the highest scores will receive Tony-style awards. The schools with the highest scores are given the opportunity to perform at the Rochester Auditorium Theatre, which is used for professional Broadway performances.

There will be three performances of “Into the Woods” this coming weekend in the Lyndonville school auditorium. On Friday and Saturday, the show will be at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the performance will be at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door. The school is located at 25 Housel Ave. in Lyndonville.