Del Oro actors go ‘Into The Woods’

Musical fairy tale show begins April 18
By: Chris Greenwood, Loomis News Student Intern
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What: Musical production

Who: Del Oro Theatre Arts

When: 7 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, April 18-20 and 25-27; special PG-rated matinee at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 20

Where: Del Oro Performing Arts Theater

Admission: $12 general, $10 students, available at the door

Rated: PG to PG-13

Info: 652-7243


Del Oro Theatre Arts presents the funny, yet thought-provoking and powerful Stephen Sondheim musical production of “Into the Woods.” 

It’s based on the book by James Lepine and follows the stories of a baker, Little Red, Cinderella and Jack – who all have a wish that can’t come true unless they journey into the forest. 

Familiar fairy tale characters will take the stage, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella

While dealing with wolves, witches, and runaway cows, the characters each get their most precious wish, but are left wondering if it was what they really wanted.

“The story weaves together well known fairy tale characters to create a challenging metaphor of the ambiguities found throughout life,” said show director and drama teacher Jeff Johnson.  

While the show is wrapped in a childish bow, sophomore Emma-Claire Brock, who plays Cinderella, said her character may be “iconic, but at the same time is much more developed as a character, and a lot more mature than her Disney counterpart.”

The play may be based on childhood characters, but the cast rates the evening shows at PG-13. 

Johnson said the play “becomes much darker” in the second half, lending itself to much more mature themes. In response, the matinee features a toned down, PG-rated children's version that shows a much brighter, cheery resolution for the story's characters. 

The show features live music, performed by a string quartet with musicians from the Sacramento Symphony and a Del Oro band member.

Ashlee Petretti plays Little Red Riding Hood and is the show's choreographer.

She said, “The cast loves the choreography, because it really lets them put their character into it.” 

Several of the actors are newcomers to Del Oro theatre. Despite having acting experience elsewhere, freshman Reilly Gallagher, who plays the Witch, said cast members are “more serious about what they do. But it makes it easier to be around and work with them. They simply care more about what they're doing.” 

Johnson called working with a whopping cast of 22 students “great,” because “this cast is very supportive of each other.” 

Johnson joins in the fun by taking on the enigmatic role of a mysterious old man who tails the characters through the woods during much of the show.

“It's been fun to get back on stage and have a relationship with the students as a partner, not just a boss,” Johnson said.

For the students, mastering what some called a “crazy” musical score and making costumes is very time-consuming. 

Plus there is the stage to deal with as it receives a gigantic makeover to sport a sprawling forest. 

“The set is extremely ambitious, and we're really focusing on the fairy tale aspect,” Johnson said.

Johnson hopes the musical will leave audiences thinking and talking.

“The message is clear, or at least the questions will be. The point is to make people ask questions about their own journeys, their impacts on the people around them. Everyone has to go into the woods in order to test their character – in the show and in real life,” he said.

The cast includes Ariana Judd, as Rapunzel; Bri Mattal, as Baker's Wife; Dylan Huntzinger, as Wolf; Jordyn Sandor, as Red's Granny; Alec Irwin, as Rapunzel's Prince; Ashlyn Hennige, as Lucinda; Judith Morgan, as Jack's mother; Marisa Wilson, as Cinderella's stepmother; Nick Smith, as Cinderella's father; Mason Besseler, as Cow; Cameron Riggs, as Cinderella's Prince; Aubrey Bosserman, as Rapunzel; Rachel Wallis, as Cinderella's mother; Nate Ayers, as Baker; Jack Tjornhom, Jack; Hailey Bush, as Snow White; Moriah Scogin, as Florinda; Sarah Dietz, as Sleeping Beauty; and Jack Shobe, as Steward.