“A cow as white as milk,
a cape as red as blood,
hair as yellow as corn,
The slipper as pure as gold-”
…This sounds like a bizarre shopping list, doesn’t it? The teens at Next Generation don’t seem to think so, as they rehearse these and other quirky lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim for their upcoming production of “Into the Woods” Jr.; the third and final production to conclude the fall session of musicals performed by young local actors at Next Generation Theatre in Brewer.
The Disney classic “The Jungle Book” starred the youngest group of pint-sized performers and kicked off the fall season; followed by “Mulan”, another Disney favorite which showcased the talents of the middle schoolers involved in Next Gen. Finally, the twenty-two of seasoned teen actors are ready to explore the complexities of relationships, morals, and things being not “quite as they seem” in this popular Broadway show that takes the audience on a journey down the less traveled path: “Into the Woods”, based on fairytales by the Brothers Grimm.
“Into the Woods”, most likely known by this generation for the film-adaption that came out around Christmas a few years ago and starred Meryl Streep, was originally produced on Broadway in 1987. The show was an instant hit amongst audiences and critics alike, and went on to win several Tony Awards for that season. “Into the Woods” is one of the most frequently produced shows, and has been performed twice over the years on the Next Generation Stage before, both times with a very positive response from the student performers, their parents, and members of the community.
This year’s production is directed by John Bapst Senior, Emily Hughes. This will be the second production directed by the 18 year old this session. She will have help from some of the younger students performing in the show. “ It has been a privilege working with the talented teens in this show!” Emily beamed. “I will really miss these students next year when I am away for college.”
Grace Galinski has performed on the Next Generation Theatre stage thirteen times since making her debut in 2010, and now works as an intern at the theatre, helping out with the younger actors. In this production, she will appear as Jack’s mother (from the classic fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk”.) “As an intern, I like seeing how the other side of theatre works—but in this production I especially like getting to interact with the other castmates in rehearsal to prepare for this show.” Grace said.
Lyrica Marsh, another veteran of Next Generation Theatre has been performing in shows there for eight years, since the age of six. In the twenty-six shows she has appeared in, her favorite role thus far was in the musical “Seussical”, however she enjoys playing Cinderella in this production because “It is fun to portray her in a different way than how she is known” Lyrica stated. Lyrica has also been interning with the younger groups for a year and said that she loves interning because of the feeling she gets from “watching a show and knowing that I helped make it happen.”
Bridget Saunders has appeared in shows at Next Generation Theatre for the last six years, three of which she worked as an intern, and eventually graduated into the position as one of the directors of the younger groups this fall. Bridget portrays the emotionally and musically complex role of The Witch in this production. “This show has been a very positive experience because it really shows how the world is not just black and white. The Witch is supposed to be evil, but she is actually relatable because you can understand her thought process and why she makes the choices that she does” Bridget reflected. In her leadership position, Bridget said that she loves “working with the kids and helping them to appreciate art.”
Tracey Marceron the owner and artistic director of Next Gen (as well as the costume and set designer for this production) says that the moral of this show holds very important lessons to be taught as a teenager. “The woods, like life, can be mysterious and beautiful but also dangerous. You have to beware not only of the wolf, but also the prince! Sometimes the path that you choose can have very lasting consequences.”
There will be four opportunities to see this production of “Into The Woods” Jr. at Next Generation Theatre. January 12th at 7pm, January 13th at 2pm and 7pm and January 14th at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased at Between Friends Art Center, 39 Center Street Brewer, or by calling 207-989-7100 to purchase over the phone. This phone number can also be used to get more information on how your student can become involved in Next Generation Theatre, Dance or Art classes. Auditions for the upcoming spring session will be Wednesday January 17th from 4-7pm. Everyone who auditions gets a part!