PUBLISHED: 5:05 PM on Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The fallout of ever after
Juneau-Douglas High School performs 'Into The Woods'

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Mary Erickson as the baker's wife, left, and Zak Kirkpatrick as the baker, right, react to Clairen Stone, middle as the witch in "Into The Woods." The annual musical at Juneau-Douglas High School will show Feb. 23-24, and March 2-3.
In the way of fairytales things usually end with "happily ever after."

However the musical "Into The Woods" takes a comedic look at what happens to infamous characters from stories such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and The Beanstalk after the stories have concluded.

"It's like what Disney didn't show you," said Jane Longenbaugh Sherwood, a senior who plays Cinderella's evil stepmother.

The Juneau-Douglas High School show is at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24 and March 2-3, at the school auditorium.

The fairytale characters meet up in the woods, where their lives intertwine.

"You have all of these different stories that everyone knows and they're converging," said senior Zak Kirkpatrick who plays the baker. "It's very humorous."

Senior Aaron Kearns plays a prince and gave up playing basketball this year to participate in the show.

"I've played basketball my whole life, and I thought this would be fun," Kearns said.

"I really enjoy doing it. It's more fun than I thought it would be, but it's also a lot of work."

Not only do actors sing, but they also talk to music, which many cast members said has proven difficult.

"Getting the timing of the lines has been a challenge since the lines are set to music," said junior Mary Erickson who plays the baker's wife. "It's good to see it all come together though."

Along with singing and dancing, cast members get a chance to play an array of characters with big personalities.

Senior Nathan Neikirk plays the mysterious man who lives in the forest.

Photo Amanda Gragert
  Juneau-Douglas High School students portray Cinderella and her stepsisters in "Into The Woods," which will show at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24, and March 2-3, at the high school auditorium.
"My character is a spiffy, crazy forest dude," Neikirk said. "He's a really cool character who knows what is going on. It's fun being him because he's pretty goofy."

Other cast members, such as seniors Levi Benning who plays the big bad wolf and Longenbaugh Sherwood who plays Cinderella's evil stepmother, said they enjoy the chance to play a character who has a bad side.

"I get to be evil and haughty and talk down to people, wear cool costumes and talk about lentils," Longenbaugh Sherwood said.

Benning said playing a character with a dark side is a chance to not hold back in performing.

"The big bad wolf is a creepy guy trying to act all nice and kind of has a multiple personality," Benning said. "It's so much fun to be evil. The play is like a very funny Greek tragedy."

Students said they enjoy participating in the play as a chance to get to know classmates better.

"It's really cool working with a lot of people you see around school and to hang out with," Neikirk said. "We've all started to become friends and become family. It's nice."

Benning said often many seniors participate who have not in the past.

"It's something that's fun but a lot of work," Benning said. "I've met people I would have never met before."

This year's show is directed and produced by JDHS English teacher Michaela Moore, who is making her theater debut in Juneau.

Her husband and JDHS choir teacher, Richard Moore, also is working on the show by assisting the choir and set production. This is the first time the couple has worked on a theatrical production together.

"It's been amazing. I'm getting to know the same kids he know and works with," Michaela Moore said.

"It's been really fun. There are times we butt heads and disagree on some elements, but we work it out and I like it makes the show better."

She said she has been impressed with the talent at the high school and enjoyed working with students she otherwise would not get a chance to know. She said she chose "Into The Woods" despite it being a difficult show because the students could handle the workload.

"These kids are way more talented than any of the other kids I've ever worked with," Moore said. "The amount of work it take is huge, but I wanted to give them a chance to shine. It's my favorite show, too."

Senior Marion Hurlbut plays the granny of Little Red Riding Hood and said she has enjoyed working with the Moores and has learned more than just theaterics.

"I hope that years from now I turn out like them," Hurlbut said. "It's refreshing and gives you hope that you can be together and get a long."

Michaela Moore said she is happy that students are learning relationship skills through the experience of the show.

"It makes me feel good that they're seeing that," Moore said. "Richard and I care about these kids, and they feel like a second family to us. That's why we're teachers."

Freshman Monica Yost plays Little Red Riding Hood and said the Moores have made rehearsal a family atmosphere. Michaela Moore said it has been a good experience for her daughters, Shanae'a, 14, and Aria, 11, to be present at rehearsal and get to know older students.

Junior Clairen Stone plays the witch and said that she was nervous about having a new director from years past, but has enjoyed being around the Moores.

"It's kind of funny because we'll have obstacles and they'll get in a little fight, but they work together to figure it out," Stone said.

"It's a good influence on kids to see a good relationship. They're so good with kids and they're really fun to out with."

Advance tickets are $6 for students and seniors and $8 for adults and may be purchased at Hearthside Books and the JDHS activities office. Tickets sold at the door are an additional $2.