Wishes in the woods

Coal City Middle School to present ‘Into the Woods’

THE BAKER AND his wife (Eli Fritz and Chloe Peacock) head into the woods on a journey that will change their lives. Along the way they encounter Jack (Stephen Byers) who trades his beloved pet, Milky White, for a handful of magic beans. The rest of the story will be told this weekend as Coal City Middle School hosts its production of “Into the Woods.”
Ann Gill

As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for, because sometimes what we want most doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would be.
Coal City Middle School students have come to learn that wishes come with consequences as they retell some classic fairy tales in a unique and musical way.
This weekend, 33 middle schoolers will take the stage to bring life to a few classic fairy tale characters in the school’s production of “Into the Woods.”
A junior version of the Tony Award winning musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, the production brings together several fables made famous by the Brothers Grimm.
When the curtain goes up the audience will be transported into the woods. The stage has been transformed into a magical land inhabited by a baker and his wife, a boy in possession of magical beans and a delightful cow that goes by the name Milky White. There's even a princess and a girl trapped in a tower, and a screaming child who skips her way to grandmother’s house without a care in the world.
The musical centers on a baker and his wife, whose great desire is to have child, but they’ve been cursed by a witch. In order  to ward off the spell she placed on them they head out on a journey into the woods.
With just hours to go before opening night, the junior high actors and actresses are fine tuning their roles with every line delivered and step across the stage.
The director, Jack Micetich, often stops the action  on stage to give a quick note or set the perfect light que.
“Into the Woods,” is the seventh show he’s produced and directed at the middle school.
In selecting the cast, Micetich notes it was by far the most difficult decision he’s had since starting the program.
“We had over 80 students audition, and it was extremely competitive. Our school district has a great number of talented students,” the director said.
Taking the stage in key roles are Eli Fritz and Chloe Peacock as the baker and his wife. Alexis Arreola is the show’s witch.
Stephen Byers is the show’s Jack and his mother is played by Shana Kelly.
Izzy Kostbade skips across the stage as Little Red and her older brother, Aidan Kostbade is the dapper and devious wolf she encounters on her way to visit granny, a role played by Kerigan Copes.
As Cinderella, Emma Kenney’s desire is to attend the king’s festival and in the process she meets a prince played by Braiden Young.
The prince’s brother, a role filled by Jared Counterman, is focused on capturing the attention of a long haired girl who lives high up in a tower. As Rapunzel, McKenna Patten lets down her hair, but does she escape the tower? One must see the show to know.
Micetich encourages his students, “to leave it all on the stage.” A statement  they all know as a reminder to their best at each and every practice and performance.
“Go out there and give it 180 percent every time you step on that stage,” he told the cast at the conclusion of a recent rehearsal.
 It’s evident from the set design, costuming and vocals that every measure has been put in to make this production a memorable one for the audience and the actors.
The director often reminds his student actors and crew members how fortunate they are to attend a school with a Board of Education, administration, faculty and community that embraces and supports fine arts.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the quality of a middle school production like this, you are very lucky,” he said.
The story is narrated by middle schooler Caleb Kuhel.
Additional members of the cast are Sylar Milinkovic, Cinderella’s mother; Trinidy Barrus, Cinderella’s step-mother; Maxwell Tucker, Cinderella’s father and Sophiya Williams and Mackenzie Kraus, as her step-sisters Florinda and Lucinda; Mateo Blessing, mysterious man and Dylan Ludes, steward.
Members of the ensemble are Ethan Aeschilman, Elsa Bunton, Logan Hawkins, Kilen Davidson, Tanner Phillips, Ava Houston, Maxwell Hone, Elaina Patten, Michael Smith, Brecken Johnson, Owen Hren, Kegan Robson and Alli Housman.
Micetich is assisted by a  creative team that includes vocal director Sherfy Browning, artistic director Celeste Sheridan, choreographer Kim Scerine, and costume designer Danielle Porterfield. The team also includes wigs and hair by Chad White, makeup design by Haley Blazekovich and Kaitlyn Thayer is overseeing the stage crew.
Shows are Thursday, Oct. 12,  and Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. in the Coal City Unit 1 Auditorium at Coal City High School, 655 W. Division St.
Advanced reserved seat tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased online at bit.ly/CCITW17. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door beginning one hour prior to each show.