Conquering the woods

FHC Spotlight Players bring an impressive performance of “Into the Woods.”

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Zach Grau

Senior John Emery and sophomore Esther Davis shrink away from a witch, played by senior Hailey Stephens. Returning Spotlight Players Emery and Davis play the baker and his wife in the musical "Into the Woods."

Jessica Mugler, Copy Editor

It’s a daunting task for a group of high school students to perform a “classic” story in a play or musical. These shows, often involving princesses and princes, such as Cinderella, or a beloved children’s story, such as Goldilocks, are well known and bring high expectations from the audience. However, the FHC Spotlight Players’ show “Into the Woods” not only combines four of these cherished, classic stories, but executes them well.

The first act of the musical revolves around a baker and his wife who, on a quest to have kids, turn to a witch for help. While this first plot is played out, the two characters run into Cinderella, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. The first act interweaves these four fairytale stories beautifully with the main storyline of an infertile couple.

Senior John Emery, playing the baker, and sophomore Esther Davis, who plays his wife, are recurring performers from the Spotlight Players’ shows and are just as impressive in this musical than their other shows. You may recognize Davis from her lead role of Kate in “Kiss Me, Kate” last year and Emery from previous roles in “The Boys Next Door,” “Kiss Me, Kate” and “See How They Run.” In “Into the Woods,” the onstage couple nails every line and song with feeling and intensity.

Two Spotlight Players who make brilliant appearances, though, are senior Hailey Stephens and sophomore Tristan Ratterman. Stephens plays the witch, who is a central character of the musical, while Ratterman acts as Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf and Cinderella’s prince, both of which are charming, yet deceptive. These two performers are confident in their roles and are on point with their performance of the characters, even adding a bit of comedic relief throughout the show. In addition, the pair’s singing shines throughout the musical and adds to the show’s overall success.

While the actors, actresses, musicians and crew members do an excellent job in their execution of the show, the script takes an abrupt turn after intermission. The first act ends in a happy-go-lucky manner with a happily-ever-after attitude. Then, the second act comes and wipes it all away. While the first act hinges on multiple fairytale stores and plot lines engrossing the audience, the second act feels like a sad story getting too deep too quickly. With deaths of characters giving performers the chance to show their serious sides, the grieving parts of the show are a bit awkward in the musical’s overall light, jolly mood.

Nevertheless, even the bumps in the script are played out well by the cast of the FHC Spotlight Players. The acting, singing and technical elements in the show are thoroughly impressive and are sure to bring more rousing performances. The musical runs for two more nights, starting at 7 p.m., and is worth the watch.