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Fall musical in the works

October 29, 2007

‘Into the Woods’ intertwines several fairy tales into one

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Cinderella, Jack in the bean stalk, Rapunzel, and several other fairy tale characters come together in this year’s fall musical, “Into the Woods.”

Actors from Dassel-Cokato and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted are busy rehearsing before the curtain opens 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8 at the DC Performing Arts Center.

“It’s the famous Grimm fairy tales woven into one,” said the musical’s director Dave Metcalf.

“Into the Woods” has four basic plots that keep “bumping” into each other, he said.

The characters go into the woods for different quests. What starts out light turns dark when they have to deal with moral dilemmas such as murder and infidelity, according to Metcalf.

With music by Stephen Sondheim, who has produced music for Broadway shows including “West Side Story” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Into the Woods” is musically challenging, according to Metcalf.

Ryan Luhrs, the DC High School’s choir instructor, is the vocal director for the show, and DC’s Brian Veith is the musical director.

“Everyone is doing an amazing job learning the music,” Metcalf said.

After not receiving the rights to “Fiddler on the Roof” for the anticipated community theater production, Metcalf wanted to receive the rights for “Into the Woods” before beginning rehearsals, he said.

In the past, in order to save time, rehearsals would start before receiving the rights for the production.

“I won’t do that anymore,” he said.

With that and HLWW school starting a week after DC this fall, practice got off to a late start.

Although the show is rolling along, the kids are under some pressure to catch up, Metcalf said.

“They are doing a great job and learning as fast as they can,” he said.

Metcalf chose this particular musical because it had been done at Howard Lake 14 years ago on the round stage.

He liked it then with the music and interesting plot. Also, since fewer male actors signed up last spring than normal, Metcalf searched far and wide for a musical with fewer male characters needed.

Usually, there are twice as many males as females who sign up, he said.

“This fit best with the students we have,” he said.

Musicals are chosen to maximize students’ talents and to fit the actors performing.

In this year’s musical, there are some veteran actors performing including Erick Carlsted (HLWW), Natalie Davis (DC), Sam Kampa (DC), Amanda Imberg (DC), Kacie Carlsted (HLWW), Tynelle Marschall (DC), and Karl “Boo” Schliep (HLWW).

Other actors include Caleb Messer (HLWW), Jessie Eckroad (DC), Adrienne Haataja (DC), Sabrina Lawrence (DC), Brie Barfknecht (HLWW), Bryant Beckermann (DC), Brittany Erickson (DC), Joel Ring (DC), Holly Doroff (HLWW), Lisa Robinson (DC), James Frickstad (DC), Eric Arlien (HLWW), Doreen Lorentz (HLWW), Scotti Straub (DC), and Jennie Meyer (DC).

Production to be judged

New to the fall musical this year is an opportunity to be recognized in the Spotlight Musical Theatre Program, hosted by Hennepin Theatre Trust.

This program recognizes musical and theatrical talent in what has been select metropolitan high schools.

Metcalf describes the program as a local Tony Awards and is honored to be involved.

This year, the DC/HLWW musical has been accepted as the first participant outside of the seven-county metro area to be able to enter the program.

This production will serve as an experimental transition toward expanding the Spotlight program by including other schools beyond its current boundaries, according to Metcalf.

The production, as a whole, and individual actors will be judged on certain criteria by three professional evaluators.

Evaluators will determine if and who should be nominated for the Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role. The show could also be nominated for Overall Production of a Musical.

An awards ceremony will take place in June at the State Theater in Minneapolis.

‘Into the Woods’ to be at the PAC in two weeks

Production days are Thursday, Nov. 8; Saturday, Nov. 10; Friday, Nov. 16; and Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center of the Dassel-Cokato High School.

Tickets are on sale now, $6 for adults and $4 for students. They are available at either high school or by calling the activity offices at (320) 286-4100 ext. 1811 at DC, or (320) 543-3471 for HLWW.