The Lathrop High School music department is presenting “Into the Woods,” which opens on Thursday, April 21. It is the first big production Lathrop has held since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic over two years ago, and the show features a mostly young cast eager to showcase their months of hard work.

Stage director Tristan Hovest described “Into the Woods” as a “classic musical.” The work, by Stephen Sondheim, is based on a book by James Lapine, which combines the plots of different fairy tales. The show brings characters from a variety of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella” together into a single story.

Although “Into the Woods” is based on fairy tales, the show has a twist because the story does not end once the characters get what they want, as most tales do, Hovest explained. Instead, according to the musical description, “this story takes you one step beyond to what happens after the happy endings.” Specifically, the musical explores the question of what characters do once their desires are obtained. Rather than falling into the “grass is greener on the other side” mentality, characters must learn to “find happiness in the situation they have,” Hovest explained.

Hovest said that the plot of “Into the Woods” is in many ways “an unfortunate parallel to the situation with Covid.” The theme of making the best of what one has and working with it was also representative of the process of putting on “Into the Woods.”

This is the first performance Lathrop has put on since prior to the pandemic; their last show was “Newsies” in 2019. As such, the cast is mainly young and inexperienced, which Hovest said has been a challenge in what is just his second time stage directing. Overall, “the cast has been doing great,” said Hovest, despite the lack of experienced leaders. “It’s been really great to see the cast come together ... and rewarding to see them grow over countless hours of rehearsals,” he added.

The cast has been rehearsing for nearly six months; the first read through was in mid-December. Ethan Brun, a junior who plays the baker (a central character), said rehearsals “got off to a bumpy start,” but that “things are starting to come together” just in time for opening night.

On opening night, Brun is particularly excited for the audience to see the set. “It’s one of my favorite things about the play,” he said of the set, which he described as “simplistic yet elaborate enough to bring the show to life.”

Hovest is excited “to interact with the community and share theater” again, after nearly three years.“I hope to have a full house every night,” he said.

There will be eight performances of the musical, which runs from April 21 through April 30 in Hering Auditorium.

Tickets, which are $10 for students and $18 for adults, can be purchased online at www.lathrophighmusic.com/musicals or at the box office before showtime.

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or mthomas@newsminer.com.

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or mthomas@newsminer.com.

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