Albert Lea High School tackles tough musical

Published 11:08 am Thursday, November 20, 2014

Katelyn Hendrickson, center, plays Cinderella in Albert Lea High School's production of "Into the Woods." Rika Boorsma, left, plays the Stepmother; Tori Helgeson and Carissa Fitzlaff, right, play Cinderella's stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda. – Hannah Dillon/Albert Lea Tribune

Katelyn Hendrickson, center, plays Cinderella in Albert Lea High School’s production of “Into the Woods.” Rika Boorsma, left, plays the Stepmother; Tori Helgeson and Carissa Fitzlaff, right, play Cinderella’s stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda. – Hannah Dillon/Albert Lea Tribune

Once upon a time …

Student actors at Albert Lea High School are going “into the woods” with this year’s fall musical.

“Into the Woods” follows the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel, the Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and a baker and his wife. Each go into the woods to have their wishes granted, and by the end of the first act everyone seems to have their happily ever after.

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However, in the second act it becomes clear that happily ever after doesn’t exist as the characters become unhappier and unhappier.

Written by James Lapine and with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, “Into the Woods” debuted in San Diego in 1986. It went to Broadway in 1987 and has since been produced many times.

“Into the Woods” opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight and goes through Saturday at the Albert Lea High School auditorium.

Molly Grimmius, one of the stage directors for the show, said she and music director Diane Heaney picked “Into the Woods” because it’s a tough show but also a favorite.

Despite the show being tough, Grimmius said she and Heaney knew that the cast of students were talented and could handle the load.

There are 31 students in the cast and eight students in the tech crew. There are 13 musicians in the orchestra pit, some of which are students and some of which are adults.

Besides Grimmius and Heaney, Lilah Aas is a stage manager and John Fure is the set and prop manager.

Grimmius said the kids are doing well. A lot of the students had to do work on their parts outside of school due to their difficulty, she said.

“Into the Woods” is a good show for families, Grimmius said, but parents might not want to bring children under the age of 10. While the characters in the play are familiar fairy tales, the second act gets dark.

Clarissa Fitzlaff, a senior, plays Lucinda, one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.

Fitzlaff said the musical was hard and she said the directors didn’t know if the students would be able to pull it off.

She said Heaney said “Into the Woods” was the hardest musical the school’s attempted in 10 years. Fitzlaff explained that “Into the Woods” is difficult because of the sheer number of lines and songs each actor needs to memorize.

However, Fitzlaff said all of the actors were perfect for their roles.

During auditions, the students could pick which script they’d like to read but the directors assigned them to the parts they thought would fit best, Fitzlaff said.

She put the stepsister down and read that script, and ended up getting the part she wanted.

Fitzlaff said it’s fun to play the stepsister because she’s kind of mean and it’s fun to not always be the nicest person on stage.

She also saw “Into the Woods” as a Broadway musical and was interested in it since then.

This is Fitzlaff’s fourth musical; she said she is one of four seniors who have been in the fall musical every year since freshman year.

“We’ve worked really hard on it,” Fitzlaff said. “It’s going to be a good show.”


Tickets, please 

What: “Into the Woods”

Where: Albert Lea High School auditorium

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

How much: $5 for students and seniors, $7 for adults, available at the door


‘Into the Woods’ Cast


Narrator: Zane Aumick

Cinderella: Katelyn Hendrickson

Jack: Connor Larson

Jack’s Mother: Solveig Lange

Red Riding Hood: Anna Englin

Witch: Isabel Ehrhardt

Baker: Travis Nemec

Baker’s Wife: Bailey Ford

Stepmother: Rika Boorsma

Florinda: Tori Helgeson

Lucinda: Carissa Fitzlaff

Cinderella’s Father: Gabe Minear

Rapunzel’s Prince: Schafer Overgaard

Rapunzel: Heather Wirkus

Cinderella’s Prince: Sam Ehrhardt

Mysterious Man: Jeremy Sekora

Wolf: Logan Petersen

Milky White: Brayden Boettcher

Cinderella’s Mother: Savannah Simpson

Granny: Carissa Blizzard

Steward: Lukas Severson

Giant: Luke Sunblad

Snow White: Emily Ortiz

Sleeping Beauty: Anna Waltman

Ensemble: Taylor Martinez, Josh Englin, Ryan Nelson, Syne Barr, Hannah Kingstrom, Aaron Zogg, Noah Iverson


Orchestra pit

Keyboard: Diane Heaney

Synthesizer: Grace Chalmers

Percussion: Gigi Otten

Bass guitar: Sam Ware

Electric guitar: Kyle Neideimeir

Flute: Kendra Manges

Clarinet: Michal Hanson

Bassoon: Gayle Brownlow

Trumpet: Vern Frydenlund

Violin: Rebekah Crissinger, Jens Lange

Viola: Emily Wangen

Cello: Abby Sencio


Light/sound techs: Laura Piper, Carson McGivern

Spotlights: Charley Fleek, Sawyer Nelson, Dakota Callahan, Nathan Reichl, Tianna Abrego

Auditorium tech coordinator: Diane Heaney


Stage directors: Lilah Aas, Molly Grimmius

Music director: Diane Heaney

Set and prop director: John Fure

Stage managers: Katie and Alexa Wood