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home : on stage : on stage May 24, 2016


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4/16/2013 6:50:00 AM
Mingus thespians present Into the Woods
Musical comedy based on Grimm Fairy Tales
Mingus Union Theatre Director James Ball said Into the Woods weaves beloved Grimm Fairy Tales, like Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella with an original tale of a baker and his wife.
Mingus Union Theatre Director James Ball said Into the Woods weaves beloved Grimm Fairy Tales, like Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella with an original tale of a baker and his wife.
Ball said this may be the most difficult production his students have put on in the six years he has been the director.
Ball said this may be the most difficult production his students have put on in the six years he has been the director.
If You Go ...
What: Into the Woods musical by MUHS theater students

When: April 19, 20, 26 & 27 at 7 p.m. April 21 & 28 at 3 p.m.

Where: Mingus Union High School at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood

Cost: $10 adults, $9 seniors, $7 students, $3 more at door

Tickets: ShowTix4U.com


Philip Wright
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD - "The biggest show of our year is the spring musical," said Mingus Union Theatre Director James Ball. "This year we are presenting the Tony Award winning musical, Into the Woods, with music and lyrics by the great Stephen Sondheim and the book by James Lapine."

Ball said Into the Woods is considered a classic. "The whole thing is genius."

He explained that the modern music classic weaves beloved Grimm Fairy Tales, like Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella with an original tale of a baker and his wife.

Ball said this may be the most difficult production his students have put on in the six years he has been the director.

"Sondheim for theater students is like taking a calculus class," Ball said.

"What is most unique about this musical is that it is a farce, mixed with a musical comedy and tragedy," Ball said.

Most of the story will be familiar Ball said but Lapine's telling poses deeper and more philosophical and spiritual questions: What would happen if fairy tales came to life and had to face real life problems instead of storybook problems?

Ball says this musical is different from previous ATORT productions because it is vocally challenging and has a smaller dance component.

"It is a different sort of challenge," Ball said, "and I have been so proud with how our Mingus students have risen to it."

The production has a 21-member cast, and a live pit orchestra will include a few students, graduates and professional musicians.

Into the Woods debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986, and it premiered on Broadway in 1987. The production won several Tony Awards, including best score, best book and best actress.

This is the first production that Ball has allowed the students to choose by vote. They picked it from five musicals.

Ball said this musical is difficult on two levels.

"On the music side, Sondheim's style is very fast and overlapping," Ball said.

"On the second level, with high school kids this one is all character driven," he said. He pointed out that getting high school kids to get into character that much can be hard to do.

"They're doing great," he said. "Because of their vested interest they're willing to work to meet the demands of the show."

Ball said the most interesting aspect of the production for the kids is the fairy tales interacting with other fairy tales.

Senior Michal Bader plays the Baker's wife. This is her third year in the theater program, and she was in two other musicals.

"This is so much more intimate," Michal said. "It is so much more effort."

Michal described the musical as "Disney meets Brothers Grimm."

"It's all about wanting more, like real people," she explained. "It was difficult but I think we all have it now."

Michal said this role is the biggest part she has had since being in the MUHS theater program.

Junior Brett Janica plays Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. He has been involved in theater since elementary school, including community theater and three years at Mingus.

"I'm really excited about this role," he said. "We had over 50 people try out, and this was the role I wanted."

For Brett theater is about a lot more than something to do in high school. He is interested in pursuing theater after high school.

"It is definitely something I want to pursue, either dramatic arts or musical theater," he said.

Senior Jessica Reinhart plays Cinderella.

"At first, I wanted to be the Baker's Wife," she said. "But I had a total reversal and wanted to be Cinderella."

Jessica has been in the Mingus theater program for four years. She started working as a member of the stage crew for a year and a half.

"Since then, I've been in six productions, two musicals and four plays," she said.

For Jessica, theater is all about the vocal opportunities. She said that Cinderella has such a great vocal part in this production.

"This experience has really helped me grow vocally because it's so technically difficult," Jessica said. "Out of all the shows I've done, I think I've enjoyed this one the most."

Beyond high school, Jessica will use her four-year academic scholarship to Northern Arizona University to study vocal performance, mostly opera.

"I really want to be in musical theater," she said.

Into the Woods will play in the Mingus Union High School Auditorium Friday and Saturday April 19 & 20 at 7 p.m. and again on Friday and Saturday April 26 & 27 at 7 p.m. Two matinee performances are scheduled for 3 p.m. on two Sundays, April 21 & 28.

The Auditorium is located at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 for students. All tickets will be an additional $3 at the door.

For information, call (928) 649-4466 or email jball@muhs.com.

For tickets go to ShowTix4U.com.


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