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Theater students take ownership of 'Into the Woods' characters

Farmington High School seniors, Alexa Butroff plays The Baker’s Wife and Hunter Conrad portrays The Baker in the musical "Into the Woods" that intertwines plots from several fairy tales in a discovery story of wishes and quests. Kara Hildreth / Contributor1 / 2
Farmington High School theater students are ready to perform "Into the Woods" as the fall musical. Teagan Coyer (left) portrays Rapunzel and Annika Mann plays the Witch. Kara Hildreth / Contributor2 / 2

Farmington High School theater students admit how they have learned about themselves and life playing heartfelt characters in the fall musical "Into the Woods" that takes stage this weekend.

"I think it is timely because one big theme is that all the characters go into the woods in search of what is going to make them happy," said play director Sarah Stout, an English teacher at Farmington High School. "They realize in addition to going after what they want, they should consider what other people want and the idea of community comes into play."

The large 45-member cast also includes an ensemble.

James Lapine is the playwright and music and lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim. The story intertwines plots from Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales as the musical explores characters' wishes and quests.

Senior Alexa Butruff plays a leading role as the baker's wife. She has participated in three musicals and performed as a choir member in two previous shows.

Butruff, 17, said when she found out she landed a leading role, she thought it was a typo.

When asked what she learned from playing her character, Butruff said, "I have learned a lot about how she is confident and she knows what she's doing, and she is helping Hunter (the baker) through all his doubts and struggles." Butruff said her own personal confidence and tenacity has grown as she has taken on the role.

Senior Maia Honl, 17, plays Little Red Riding Hood and she has been performing in plays and musicals since middle school.

"My character can be pretty headstrong and does not see the consequences of her actions," Honl said. "What I have taken away from my character is that even when you are going through a difficult time, you always have people around you and some might leave you, but you always have others that can help you."

Senior Katie Struck plays Cinderella who acts very much like a teenage girl, she said, but has a more caring and nurturing demeanor when compared to the storybook character.

"She is a lot more independent than the Disney version and is driven to her own emotions, and she is never satisfied with what she wants and is very indecisive," Struck said.

Megan Dimich serves as the vocal director and Brian Ohnsorg leads student musicians in the pit orchestra. Amy Kienberger leads the cast with the dancing and musical's overall choreography.

Adie Stellick, a social studies teacher at Dodge Middle School, worked as the new technical director in charge of costumes, sound, the set, props, and lighting and makeup.

Show times are 7 p.m. Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17 with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at Boeckman Middle School in Farmington. The Nov. 11 performance will have an American Sign Language interpreter.

Preshow tickets can be purchased online at www.fhsperformingartsandspeech.com or at the door. Tickets are $12 for preferred seating, $10 for adults, and $6 for seniors, students and staff while children 5 years and younger are admitted for free.