Unanimously heralded as one of the best performances in recent years, the San Domenico students appearing in the Tony award-winning "Into the Woods" earned high praise from appreciative audiences during four stand-out performances.
The show was musically brilliant, funny, and heart-breaking - a journey that takes everyone's favorite storybook characters and brings them together for a timeless, yet relevant, adventure...and a rare modern classic. The Stephen Sondheim classic, based on the book by James Lapine, was brought to glorious life by the Director and Choreographer, Erica Smith. Musical Direction was performed by Denise Wharmby, and additional choreography by Alyssa Carnahan and Doree Clark.
On a special note, with permission, we are sharing the faculty email sent from Upper School teacher Sonya Evans to the Director, Erica Smith. It is a wonderful recap of the audience reaction, and a peek into the incredible support system intrinsic at San Domenico amongst faculty, staff, students, and community.
This is my fifth or sixth time seeing “Into the Woods”, and I will admit that it's not my favorite Sondheim. I think one of the challenges with the show is that it's difficult to sympathize with any of the characters because they're all flawed and the redemption is either non-existent or incomplete. While that is not essential for any story, the play makes you feel like you should sympathize with them, which is where the challenge lies. Last night's performance has me rethinking everything, however, because I think the point is much more about the final song than what leads up to it. People make mistakes, everybody's wrong, and we're all truly not alone.
With the story and characters aside, this performance is the best I've ever seen, and far better than the film. It was beautiful. It's such a good choice for a high school show because there are so many opportunities for students to shine, and we have a lot of students who shine. I read recently that much of what we call talent is the result of hard work, and I think it's important to honor that hard work. I know that many of our students have been honing their craft for years, and I also know how much work you all put into your rehearsals. And it certainly paid off. Sondheim does not make things easy for singers, but there wasn't a weak link, and everyone was up to the task. You all created a beautiful, creative, and moving performance.
And what a final musical performance for our seniors! I will always remember Amy Kwon in “Cabaret”, and I will always remember Izzy Kaplan in “Into the Woods”. Either performance could have been transported onto a Broadway stage and no one would bat an eye.
I co-directed six musicals at a school where I recently discovered the entire music and theatre departments have been completely cut. I'm sad that there is no longer an outlet for all of those students to sing, dance, act, and play - and everything that is intrinsically tied to that process. I'm grateful that you, Jen, and Doree create such incredible opportunities for our students, and for us as their teachers and audience."
- Sonya Evans, Upper School Faculty
Congratulations to all of the cast and crew who made the production such a success!