November 26, 2022

The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.

By Jamie Weiss of Bishop Miege High School

Complete with a smoke machine, a breathtaking set, and a charming cast, Lee’s Summit West creates an exceptional production of “Into The Woods.”

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and direction of James Lapine, “Into The Woods” follows the stories of the Baker and his wife, Jack and his cow, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood as they each go into the woods to complete their task. During Act 1, the protagonists begin their journey and are successful: the Baker and the Baker’s Wife make a potion to have a child, Jack is now rich after climbing the beanstalk, Cinderella is royalty, and Little Red Riding Hood is saved from the wolf. Everything is happily ever after until Act 2, where disaster strikes and a giant rampages the village. After much death and grief, the protagonists unite to take down the giant and everyone lives a different kind of happily ever after, one they had never expected.

The true emotion and connection between the leading cast generates a feeling within the audience of being on stage with them. Two major stand-outs are Addison Foote (Baker’s Wife) and Sydney Parks (Little Red Riding Hood). Stunning vocals set Foote apart from the rest and her use of comedic timing is effective as she seems genuine and authentic, especially when she buys Milky White, Jack’s cow. In addition, Parks is the embodiment of a little girl who becomes strong, bold, and, of course, knife-wielding and is an overall hilarious character.

Even though the main plot follows just a few fairy-tales, the ensemble has their own stories to tell through their use of energy and characterization. As “Into The Woods” is not a dance heavy show, the ensemble still manages to always be eye-catching as they run through the back of the woods telling the stories of their own characters. A couple stand-outs are Eric Schmidt (The Wolf/Wolf 2) and Keaton Bradford (Mysterious Man). Schmidt’s powerful, booming voice captures the audience in his song “Hello, Little Girl” and Bradford provides comedic lines by always managing to take the stage when he appears. At times, the lead cast is singing a little too quickly with a need for better articulation because some words get lost, but the beauty of the singing is truly splendid.

Including stunning lights, impressive sound effects, and a magnificent orchestra, the crew of “Into The Woods” make this show one-of-a-kind. Drew Jordan and Sara Westcott do a wonderful job with the lighting and cyc which makes the show feel truly alive, such as during the song “Hello, Little Girl” where it shows the distinction in character between the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood through use of contrasting colors. Literal booming sound effects and an echoing, deep voice by the sound department consisting of Riley Fain, Scarlett Lawlor, Kourtney Dickman, and Peri Thompson gives the feeling that there may as well be a real giant in the wings of the stage. The Into the Woods Pit Orchestra adds a fairy-tale-like, mystical element through the use of music for dropping beans in actors hands and moving the story along wonderfully. While there are a few sound issues, every aspect of the crew from “Into The Woods” makes the show truly unique.

Beautiful singing, true emotion, and energy make Lee’s Summit West’s production of “Into The Woods” one to remember. The talented cast and crew makes sure to not leave the audience in a state of “Agony!”