Waiting in the Wings

A look at Walnut’s theater lineup


Caroline Horvath

The WHHS theater department will put on five shows during the 2018-2019 season, the first being Tony nominated Into the Woods. All five productions incorporate the common theme of magic and love into their plot, allowing for beautiful storytelling to take place.

Owen Cummings, Deputy Editor in Chief

The WHHS theater program has already started with the school year almost one month in and the Senior High musical Into the Woods being cast. But what is the significance of Into the Woods and the other four shows that will be performed this year, and what connections do the productions share?
The 2018-2019 season kicks off with the senior high musical Into the Woods, showing Nov. 1-3 and 8-10. The production originally opened in 1987, with the book written by James Lapine and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The play follows a baker and his wife who wish for a child, but cannot have one until they lift a curse placed upon the baker’s family by a witch.
The Broadway production was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning three, Best Book for a Musical, Best Score Written for the Theater and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. In 2015, it was made into a movie by Disney, which has received mixed reviews by audiences and critics.
The junior high season starts off with The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, a Christmas Carol sequel/spin-off written by Mark Brown. This show isn’t a musical, and is much more modern than Into the Woods, but nevertheless is a holiday play that will entertain audiences. Show dates are Dec. 7-8, and auditions are open to all seventh and eighth graders.
Set one year after the events of Charles Dickens’s classic redemption story, Ebenezer Scrooge has turned back to his grumpy attitude, and sues the Ghosts of Christmas time and Jacob Marley for endangering his life (a la The Incredibles).
The second Senior High production is William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Audition dates are Nov. 26-27 and are open to all ninth through twelfth graders. Written over 450 years ago and first performed in 1595, Shakespeare’s most famous comedy follows four lovers in Greece, who are mixed up in a very confusing love square that gets even more complicated when magic is accidentally placed on the men to switch the people they are in love with. Oh, and a handyman gets a donkey head.

Allyson Garth
Michael Sherman, a drama and stagecraft teacher, helps run and manage the
productions at WHHS. Students interested in the theater program can find Sherman
in Room 2506.

This show has been performed countless times over the past four centuries, and has been made into several motion pictures from 1935-2017. It is also read by high school students at WHHS during their English class in eighth grade.
The third senior high play, another Greek epic, is Euripides’s Medea. Audition dates are Jan. 28-29 and are open to all ninth through twelfth graders, and shows are April 18-20. First performed in 431 B.C., this show is a sequel to the classic Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts. The once heroic Jason suddenly leaves the family after he falls in love with the king’s daughter, which makes Medea so upset that she curses herself and her kids, and she vows to get her revenge on Jason and the king’s daughter, leaving the audience wondering if this is Medea’s tragedy or Jason’s.
The school year closes with the junior high musical, Xanadu Jr. Audition dates are March 4-5 and are open to all seventh through ninth graders. Based on the box-office flop Xanadu by Universal Pictures, this show’s book was written by Douglas Carter Beane, and the music and lyrics were written by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar.
The story is simple: Kira is a Greek muse who, in 1980, creates the first Roller Disco with help from her new mortal friend Sonny, who she starts to fall in love with, but is forbidden for a god and a mortal to be in love, and while she is, her evil sisters start causing trouble that interferes with them, and the end is Kira trying to fix what she has done.
While all five productions don’t appear to have a coherent theme, Medea, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Xanadu Jr. all have elements from Greek mythology, and Into the Woods and The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge have some fairy tale aspects. The main common theme is telling an unrealistic story that incorporates magic and love into a colorful blend of adjectives and entertainment. If anyone wants to get involved with any part of the productions, check regularly with the theater bulletin board in the 2500 hallway, or see Michael Sherman in Room 2506.