The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Saturday June 15th

TCNJ Musical Theatre presents ‘Into the Woods’

<p><em>The iconic characters captivated the audience, while the exceptional singing and emotional acting by the performers made the story come to life (Photo courtesy of McKenna Super).<br/></em></p>

The iconic characters captivated the audience, while the exceptional singing and emotional acting by the performers made the story come to life (Photo courtesy of McKenna Super).

By Alena Bitonti
Staff Writer

This season, the College’s student-run TCNJ Musical Theatre presented “Into the Woods” in the Don Evans Black Box Theater. The show ran for five sold out performances on Nov. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the classic musical intertwines the plots of various Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including characters taken from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella” and more.

The show is tied together by the main story of a childless baker and his wife on a quest to begin a family. After being visited by a witch, the couple is sent on the task to retrieve four items before the blue moon in order to be granted a child.

The show began with the Prologue, introducing main characters including Little Red Ridinghood played by Megan Hurley, Cinderella played by Ella Malatesta, the Witch played by Skylar Yannello, and the baker and his wife played by Eric Soltys and Aniela Erwin.

The number ran seamlessly on opening night, until an unexpected issue with the sound system left on stage performers without musical accompaniment during the end of the song. Rather than missing cues or stumbling over choreography, the cast displayed a level of professionalism and finished the number in harmony.

The iconic characters continued to captivate the audience, while the exceptional singing and emotional acting by the performers made the story come to life.

The sound issues persisted and struck again before the number “Giants in The Sky,” leaving freshman AJ Mun, who played Jack in the production, to sing it completely a cappella.

“I thought I had missed my cue or done something wrong,” Mun said. “I knew that when I chose to start singing without the track that I would have to keep it up for the entire song. Luckily the audience was very supportive.”

Although it wasn’t a typical rendition of the song, Mun managed to finish it without any musical backing and impressively showcase his talent.

The cast eventually took an impromptu break as the technical crew worked to solve the ongoing difficulties.

Cinderella’s self-centered step family, played by Isabella Moitoso, Angelina Grippaldi and Sarah Dzurillay, returned to the stage during the pause to engage with the audience. The trio remained in character as snobby and self-centered, humorously asking if there were any “princes” in the audience. This created a unique connection between the cast and audience in order to keep the magic of the show alive.

The technical issues were soon solved and the show resumed with “Agony,” a comical duet featuring Cinderella’s Prince played by Robert Burgess and Rapunzel’s Prince played by Alec Ferguson. The princes attempted to one-up one another as they sang of the respective woman they were pursuing. The two performers successfully blended both humor and charm in order to entertain the audience and create a memorable moment in the show.

The cast continued to deliver an outstanding production with renewed determination. Despite several bumps in the road, they were able to persist and show their resilience as performers throughout both Act I and II.

The cast combined many emotions in order to illustrate both the uplifting and dark points in the plot. Standout performances included “Stay With Me,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “Moments in the Woods” and “No One Is Alone.” 

Final bows on opening night were finished with a standing ovation from the crowd.

Overall, the show demonstrated talent, professionalism and a commitment to an outstanding production.

Being a student-run production and program, TMT members take on the responsibility of overseeing every aspect of the show. In the meantime, they have created special relationships with one another.

“I feel very welcomed by everyone in the program. It’s really great to meet a lot of people who have the same interests as me,” said freshman Liana Rodriguez who played Granny and Giant’s Wife.

The organization will be performing “Something Rotten” for their next musical. More information to come.




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