Into the Woods: Musical Theater’s Return to Esperanza


The Into the Woods cast during a rehearsal

Emma Beelner, Contributing Reporter

Esperanza’s long-awaited return to musical theater arrives next week on Wednesday, April 26th, and Thursday, April 27th with our theater group’s production of Into the Woods! What will be the Aztec Theatre Company’s first show in twelve years is the triumphant revival of a once-revered program and one of the first performances in our newly-renovated theater.

Into the Woods has been a staple of musical theater since its Broadway premiere in 1987 and has experienced multitudes of revivals and remakes (including a popular 2014 Disney movie) since opening. The show, written by Broadway great Stephen Sondheim, follows the stories of classic fairy tales as their characters’ paths intertwine in a refreshing take on often-tired narratives. Esperanza’s production promises to be a distinct angle on the show, including multiple alternative songs and scenes to give even the most well-versed audiences a new perspective on a story familiar to most.

Not only is this our school’s first show in years, but it will be one of the first major performances in the newly-renovated Esperanza Theater. The long-awaited improvement of a space which was often under-utilized due to its outdated nature promises to breathe life into multiple performing arts groups, not just Theatre. This renovation completely removed the stage, leaving in its place an open area reminiscent of a black box theater (a more modern take on performance spaces, popular in many off-Broadway productions). 

The cast and crew of Into the Woods have been working tirelessly to present a fully-fledged show living up to its source material while still maintaining a semblance of originality. Abigail Braun, a junior playing the leading Baker’s Wife, claims that the most difficult part of preparing for fast-approaching performance week has been the show’s time constraints. “There are so many intricate pieces to this show which makes it very impressive,” she says, “but those same pieces also make it difficult to learn in only a couple months.” 

Despite the hardship of such a restricting schedule, those involved in the production remain excited to show off their hard work. Kaitlyn Vogel, a junior playing Florinda (one of Cinderella’s step-sisters), says she’s most looking forward to audiences seeing the sets in a brand-new theater. “Not only is this the first musical production in twelve years,” she elaborates, “but it’s the first theatrical performance we’re having at our school in our own theater.”

Into the Woods is a bittersweet accomplishment, however, as it marks the departure of choir director Mr. Myers at the end of this year. As sad as it will be to lose such a strong advocate of arts at Esperanza, the accomplishment of rebuilding our theater program from the ground up signals only good things to come for the choral arts.

Into the Woods performances are at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, April 26th and Thursday, April 27th. Tickets can be bought through the Aztec Theatre Company’s Instagram account (@aztectheatreco) or by visiting the link below: