Schoolcraft Drama Club Stages Into the Woods

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Schoolcraft actors go through their blocking assignments for Into the Woods during early rehearsals for the show. The top row, from left: Katie Denharder, Brooke Johnson (senior), Marena White, Maxwell Patrick Jones, Halie Stackpole, Kacey Bell (senior), Jessica Carlton (senior), and Colin Evans. Bottom row, from left: Isabella Parker, Madison Crissman, Holly Macfarlane, Phil VanOrman (senior), Jacob Evans, Gwen Robbins (crouching), and Maegan Sargeant. Not pictured: Aaron Sargeant (senior), Casey Germain, Brooklyn Parker, Tim Brinkert (senior), Lily Wright.

By Sue Moore

Twenty one Schoolcraft drama club students are hard at work learning their lines and singing the songs for Into the Woods, a Broadway musical they will present in March. The large cast will take the stage at the Performing Arts Center under the direction of Christine Sargeant on Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m.

The troupe will repeat the show on Saturday, March 28 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. and present a matinee on Sunday, March 29 at 3 p.m.

Into the Woods was created by James Lapine, with music by Stephen Sondheim, hitting Broadway in 1987. The story line is complicated. Major parts include a witch, played by Maegan Sargeant; a baker, played by Phil VanOrman; and the baker’s wife, played by Holly Macfarlane. The stage manager is John Manning, who wants to be in the arts as a theatre manager someday. Director Sargeant is giving him some on-the-job training.

Besides giving teenagers a chance to learn the basics of acting, this play has a high level of difficulty in the singing parts, according to Sargeant. “We have five seniors along with strong voices from Jacob Evans, Macfarlane, and Madison Crissman with the ability to carry this off; that’s why this play was chosen. Two of the major parts have actors who are also in rehearsal for a play at the Civic Theatre in Kalamazoo, so they are getting lots of experience this year,” she said.

“We have lots of new kids and some veterans of performances, which I call my drama babies,” Sargeant remarked. She started directing plays in Schoolcraft three and a half years ago, because of her own kids, she said. In her daily work, she is the online coordinator for 170 Schoolcraft students who are taking subjects through the Michigan Virtual University.

All the proceeds from the performances will go to a trip to Disney World in Orlando in July, where the cast will recreate their roles. The cost for each performer is $1,000, so they will need to continue fundraising far beyond the March performance, Sargeant said. “We barely break even as the costs of production include the rights to the play, about $2,500, and the sets, which include a tower and half of a tree—it will all come close to $4,000. We are even renting a prop horse from the Civic. We can expect three to four hundred attending our shows, helping mightily to defray the up-front costs.”

Members of the Drama Club are working with Lori Pelton, Schoolcraft business teacher, on how to market the presentation which is also good experience for the students, Sargeant said.

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