Students from Portsmouth West Middle School performed their musical Into the Woods Jr., for the first time April 6, 2017. The students hosted a show for the elementary school students to work out the final kinks in production.
Into the Woods Jr. centers around a baker, played by Ryan Thompson and his wife, played by Haven Hileman. The two wish to have a child, but live under the curse of witch. In order to break the spell, they must follow the witches instructions and go into the woods to break the curse. Along the way, they encounter familiar fairy-tale characters like Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s festival and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk.
Director Sonja Jarrells-Thompson said the students have enjoyed the twist on the classic fairy-tales that they know and love. “My girls have been especially interested in playing the princesses and things like that,” Jarrells explained. “But even Jack’s mother has done a really great job playing the older mom-type figure and that’s something that she’s not had any experience with but she’s done great, they really enjoy being in fairy-tales.”
Eighth graders, Thompson and Hileman have been involved in several productions in the past and have enjoyed working on Into the Woods Jr. as well.
“There have been good times and bad times but in the end it’s all turned out okay,” said Thompson. Thompson said one the hardest things to pin down was the quick costume change his character undergoes. His counterpart Hileman added, “It’s been stressful but fun at the same time,” she also joked that she has never wanted a baby before, which serves as her characters motivation.
According to Jarrells-Thompson this production features over 20 students in grades 5 through 8.
“The kids have been really great, they’ve done really well taking direction. At the beginning they weren’t really aware of how much it would affect everybody when they would miss rehearsal, they think ‘oh it’s just one rehearsal,’ but the closer we got to the shows, the more they stopped missing because they realized, ‘oh my gosh, I’ve got to get up on stage and do this in front of people.’ This group has been more prepared to do it, than any other that I’ve done,” said Jarrells-Thompson.
The show will be held April 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m., and April 9 at 2:30 p.m. at the Portsmouth West Cafetorium, 15332 US-52, West Portsmouth. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $7 for adults. All proceeds will benefit the school choir program.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.