Rice reprises role in ‘Into the Woods’

Julia Samuelson and Sophia Cappa (Cinderella’s narrators and Maggie Kelly (Cinderella), rehearse a scene from “Into the Woods.” The performance is this Friday and Saturday.

Julia Samuelson and Sophia Cappa (Cinderella’s narrators and Maggie Kelly (Cinderella), rehearse a scene from “Into the Woods.” The performance is this Friday and Saturday.

A veteran cast will take the stage, this weekend, for Step it up Summer Stage’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s  “Into the Woods.” The musical also stars a young woman reprising a role she played 10 years ago.

Auditions were held on June 11, and the camp started with two weeks of rehearsals which began last Monday. The cast includes 30 local middle school through college-aged students. Only five members of the cast are newcomers.

“Into the Woods” was discussed by last year’s group and when the rights became available, directors Karen Eremin and T.J. Larke jumped at the opportunity. Unlike the plays performed in the schools, Summer Stage offers the participants the opportunity to perform in something which otherwise wouldn’t be appropriate for school, either due to content or cast size.

Although appropriate for all ages, Eremin said the show does have some darker themes.

“The story is about what happens if you get what you wish for and it’s still not enough,” she said. “It’s about being an adult and growing up and things not being what you think they’re going to be. [It’s about] making choices and being responsible for those choices.”

As if trying to put on a full production after only a couple weeks of rehearsal wasn’t difficult enough, Eremin said the lyrics were especially challenging for the young thespians.

“A lot of the storytelling happens through song,” said musical director Billy Blair. “A lot of the melodies are similar with changed lyrics that all rhyme. Some of the songs are extremely fast because it’s thought put to music. People are speaking or singing over each other. Knowing when you come in can be very tricky.”

One exercise Blair has employed is asking the campers to speak the lyrics in rhythm to make sure everyone is coming in and cutting off at the right time. The music was added later.

A final highlight of the musical is the casting of Sophie Rice as Jack’s mother, a role she played 10 years ago as a fifth grader at Cornwall Middle School.

“I’ve loved this show since I was in it,” Rice said. “I’ve seen it professionally done, I’ve seen the revival. When I heard she [Eremin] was doing it I had to do it.”

Comparing her role then and now, Rice said she understands more of the jokes and grasps a deeper understanding of the theme.

“It makes my family cry because it’s about the relationships you have with your parents,” Rice said. “It’s really a beautiful story. As someone who’s a little bit older, I can appreciate that more. I can appreciate the depth.”

This time around, Rice is more excited about the fate of her character.

Rice’s character dies in the script, but in middle school the scene of her being clobbered in the head was deemed too violent.

“I ran off into the distance and died. In this show, I actually get to die on stage.”

See “Into the Woods” at 7 p.m. on Friday or Saturday in the Walter Reade, Jr. Theatre at Storm King School. Tickets may be reserved by calling 845-534-3645 or purchased at the door. For more information, e-mail Karen Eremin at kueremin@yahoo.com.

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Cast
Jack’s Narrators – Desmond Gillick and Peter Samuelson
Baker’s Narrators – Robbie Hess and Emma Blacksmith
Cinderella’s Narrators – Julia Samuelson and Sophia Cappa
Little Red’s Narrator – Adriana Cecchetelli
Rapunzel’s Narrator – Hannah Zollner (Act One only)
Cinderella – Maggie Kelly
Jack – Dan Mulligan
Jack’s Mother – Sophie Rice
Milky White – Claire Kelly
Baker – Will Snyder
Baker’s Wife – Ally Wolf
Cinderella’s Stepmother – Julie Reed
Florinda – Laura Castellano
Lucinda – Jackie Prunier
Cinderella’s Father – James Bailey
Footmen – Luke Festa, Justin Minasi
Little Red Ridinghood – Ariel Yarmus
Witch – Cara DiMedio
Cinderella’s Mother – Ellie Babbitt
Mysterious Man – Scott Rolon
Wolf – Brendan Ahmed
Granny – Grainne Halliday
Rapunzel – Amanda Torres
Rapunzel’s Prince – Cameron Franke
Cinderella’s Prince – Michael Doulin
Steward – Will Corby
Lady Giant – Hannah Zollner (Act Two – Voice from Booth)
Snow White – Emma Blacksmith
Sleeping Beauty – Hannah Zollner

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Jason Kaplan