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Into the Woods: Spring Show 2018

Director's Notes

Into the Woods has been one of my favorite musicals for years, and I am delighted to finally stage it here at Sonoma Academy with this incredibly talented group of performers, musicians, and artists. Without relying on the traditional musical theatre guise of  the “boy meets girl” love story, the play instead examines complex life lessons with stunning truthfulness. The pervasive journey theme of Woods also provides fertile ground for young performers just beginning their own journey into adulthood—a journey that often feels like a dark forest filled with unknowns and setbacks. The struggles these characters face are both internal and external, testing their relationships, their resolve, their courage, and their desire to overcome obstacles and reach their goals.

In this play, each character learns that they must gointo the woods to achieve their heart’s desire, but that they will face many personal trials along the way. They can only prevail and achieve their wishes by confronting their deepest fears,  finding courage and hidden resources in the process. The play reminds us that the friendships we make along the way, the people we lose, the connections we forge, the challenges we overcome, and lessons we learn about ourselves are all integral parts of our own journeys as well. This story reminds us that by taking that first step into the shadows, we begin to discover our own self-worth. Sondheim's lyrics and rhyme schemes capture these feelings with genius and precision.

Ever since joining the Arts Department at Sonoma Academy, I have longed for ways to collaborate with my fabulous department members and colleagues, looking for shows that could combine our efforts and bring our students together to work on a show that would involve music, visual arts elements, dancing, and acting. We settled on Woods for its incredibly challenging Sondheim score (delivered by Nathan’s chamber ensemble), its rich storyline, and its complex characters and unique set (manifested by Studio Production students). The play also created an opportunity to incorporate puppetry (with help from Hillary’s class). Throughout the semester, we spent time in our individual classes working on putting the individual pieces in place until we were finally able to combine our efforts and work on the show as a whole. And in case that wasn’t enough to worry about, we decided to try staging it in the round?!

I am grateful to Nathan and Hillary for taking on this piece with me and delighted with what they were able to accomplish with their talented students. I would also like to thank new faculty member Rodney Fierce (Humanities) for jumping in and helping with dramaturgy and choreography. Live theatre truly celebrates the art of collaboration, and with the help of these strong adult leaders, it was a joyful process. I would also like to commend the student leadership on this show, with junior Ana Lara designing the set, sophomore Laleh Schaeffer and freshman Ellie Ramos taking the lead on costuming, and junior Anna Miller doing remarkable work as student choreographer. I also could not survive without my “Amazing Lady Team”  -- Paige Cabral (SM), and AD’s Julia Maliarik and Angel Qiao. I would also like to thank Gitte Johansen for her work as adult costume supervisor, and Sean Freese for his efforts to incorporate technology and projections. There is no better team of students and adults I would rather take with me into the woods. You all made the path seem clear and the light good.


Narrator: Alison Arntz
Cinderella: Nina Cauntay
Jack: Carlos Skolnick
The Baker: Jeremy Sherman
The Baker’s Wife: Madison O’Brien
Cinderella’s Stepmother: Jennifer Rink
Florinda: Adri Kornfein
Lucina: Kate Roney
Jacinda: Maya Homicz
Jack’s Mother: Megan Dewees
Little Red Riding Hood: Ana Lara
*Witch: Samantha Woo (May 17th 7:00, May 19th at 7:00 pm, May 20th at 1:00 pm)  & Lily Goldman (May 18th 7:00, May 19th at 2:00, May 20th at 6:00 pm)
Cinderella’s Father: Christian Hernandez
Cinderella’s Mother: Emma Hartley
Mysterious Man: Bryce Hanson
*Wolf: Jaia Foster (May 18th 7:00, May 19th at 2:00, May 20th at 6:00 pm) &  Anna Miller (May 17th 7:00, May 19th at 7:00 pm, May 20th at 1:00 pm)
Rapunzel: Anna Schreier
Rapunzel’s Prince: Adrian Hanson
Grandmother: Emma Hartley
Cinderella’s Prince: Jack Roney
Steward: Jack Duncan
Giant’s Wife: Charlotte Stern
* Double Casting


Music Director: Nathan Riebli
Flute / Piccolo: Colette Kane
Clarinet: Gabriella Oliveri
Bassoon: Bonnie Hayne
Trumpet: Isabelle Elder
Trumpet (Horn I): Gabe Gelsman
Trombone (Horn 2): Casey McKay
Percussion: Chris Kam
Mallet Percussion: Jordan Iversen, Isaiah Krimel
Keyboard I: Morgan Piper Cordova
Keyboard II: Catherine Li
Violin I: Lisa Doyle
Violin II: Caspian Morast
Viola: Ivy Zenobi
Violoncello: Grace Kallman, Ella Hoffman
Double Bass: Steven Hoffman


Director: Jenifer Coté
Assistant Director: Julia Maliarik, Mingyi (Angel) Qiao
Stage Manager: Paige Cabral
Music  Director: Tina Lloyd Meals
Student Choreographer: Anna Miller
Adult Choreography Support: Rodney Fierce
Costume Designers: Laleh Schaeffer, Ellie Ramos
 Costume Assistants: Emma Hartley, Maya Homicz
Set Construction Adult: Bruce Lackovic
Light Design: Robin Deluca
Puppetry Designers/Makers:
Hillary Younglove
Milky White: Reilly Austin, Ben Raitzin, Caden Zolezzi, Steven Gu, Ashley Trejo, Bill Liang
Cinderella’s Birds: Kelly Buckler, Tristen Sherley, Ben Raitzin
Hen: Kassi Aronson
Shadow Puppets:  Elannah De La O, Ashley Trejo
Horse head: Meagan Lashinski
Sound Designer/Engineer: Paul Lamb
Student Technical Assistants: Anika McCarthy-Belash (set foreman), Charlie Jackson, Mikey Smart, Genaro Pamatz
 Poster and Program Design: Megan Dewees and Carlos Skolnick
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Santa Rosa, CA 95404

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The only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On its beautiful 34-acre campus nestled at the base of picturesque Taylor Mountain in South Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a challenging environment that prepares them for college and life beyond.