Cortez Middle School premieres 'Into the Woods, Jr.'

Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 10:50 PM

Cortez Middle School Theater premiered “Into the Woods, Jr.,” a twist on Stephen Sondheim’s musical fairytale about the choices and wishes we make in life.

The show premiered on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., to an overflowing auditorium and a standing ovation from the crowd.

The show repeated Saturday at 7 p.m.

The play was co-directed by Angela Gabardi and Marla Sitton, with accompaniment by Debbie McHenry.

The two directors have been waiting for a class strong enough to put on a show of this proportion and sophistication.

According to Gabardi and Sitton, the play is the “junior version” of the Tony Award-winning musical because it eliminates mature content, does not include the second act, and has shortened the musical number. It’s more accessible to a younger and wider audience, but still contains much of the lyrical power of the original musical, which was based on Brothers Grimm fables.

“I wanted to choose it because we have a lot of eighth-graders that will be going on to high school who have worked with us for three years,” said Gabardi, the theater and computer teacher at the middle school. “We had to pick something to really showcase their gifts and their talents because they worked so hard.”

The actors, actresses and crew of the play were excited to show off that hard work.

“I think what the audience should remember is, ‘Hey those kids actually did that,’ seventh-grader Gillian Schuenemeyer said. “Middle school (students) can actually do it. It isn’t just a dumb little play where you put on costumes and do a little funny jig. It is a show; it is magic.”

The students hoped their audiences can leave the show with something they did not have before.

“I want kids, especially when they get to middle school, to be like, ‘I want to do that,’” sixth-grader Lily Sandner said. “I don’t want them leaving like ‘that was a boring little show,’ because I remember when I was little, watching my dad’s plays, is when I started wanting to do theater. So I want them to leave knowing they want to do theater.”

Tickets are $8 for general admission, and $5 for children under 12, Montezuma-Cortez High School students and senior citizens. Admission is free for CMS students and staff, M-CHS staff and children under 2.

8 Images

Lily Sandner and Piper Singleton as “Milky-White” the cow and Ellai Black as “Jack” at the Cortez Middle School's premiere of 'Into the Woods, Jr.”
Troy Thomason as “the Baker” and Quinn Nielson as “Baker’s Wife” look on as Ellai Black as “Jack” says goodbye to Lily Sandner and Piper Singleton as “Milky-White” the cow at the Cortez Middle School’s premiere of “Into the Woods, Jr.”
Narrator Grace Shepard performs at the premiere of “Into the Woods, Jr.” at Cortez Middle School.
Savannah Story as “Witch” and Troy Thomason as “Baker” make a dangerous deal in the Cortez Middle School production of “Into the Woods, Jr.”
Madison Sitton as “Cinderella” in Cortez Middle School’s production of “Into the Woods, Jr.”
Quinn Nielson as the “Baker’s Wife” listens as Cinderella tells her story of her time at the prince’s “festival.”
Elinore Muhonen as “Rapunzel” sings from her tower in the Cortez Middle School’s production of “into the Woods, Jr.”
Alivia Durall as “Wolf” tricks Brennen Talley as “Little Red Riding Hood” into giving up her grandmother’s house in a twist on this classic fairy tale as part of Cortez Middle School’s Production of “Into the Woods, Jr.”