This month, Pacelli High School’s musical will feature characters from all of the favorite fairy tales. Pacelli will stage a production of the musical “Into the Woods” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, Saturday, April 13, and Thursday, April 18, through Saturday, April 20. There will also be a performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14.
The performance will be held in the Okray Fine Arts & Community Center in Pacelli High School in Stevens Point. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance, either at the Pacelli office or by calling 832-633-6756.
“Into the Woods” is a story of a group of fairy tales taking place at the same time, said Paul Marszalkowski, the choir and drama director at Pacelli and the stage and musical director for the performance.
“Instead of cheering for one protagonist, we’re faced with dozens that interact with and obstruct one another,” he said. “At the end of the first act, we get the stereotypical ‘happy ever after’ ending, but Act II begins and the characters are faced with the consequences of their granted wishes – the worst of which is a rampaging giant intent on revenge.”
Marszalkowski said he compares “Into the Woods” to other fractured fairy tale stories like Shrek or more recent Disney films like “Enchanted” or “Tangled.”
“I tried to direct the show in a more frenetic fashion, focusing on the ridiculous and letting two dozen very gifted comic actors let loose on the stage,” he said.
Pacelli puts on two and sometimes three dramatic productions a year, Marszalkowski said. There is always a drama in the fall and a musical in the spring.
“Students prepare an audition for each of the shows, individually singing or reading scenes with partners in front of me and whoever is assisting me in the musical process,” he said.
This year, Pacelli also put together a curricular musical for the January term. The spring show is the biggest production because there are more opportunities for student involvement, Marszalkowski said.
This year, there are 26 actors in “Into the Woods,” with 12 more helping out behind the scenes.
Into the Woods was Marszalkowski’s first choice for this year’s musical because the last two musicals (“Children of Eden” in March 2012 and “Spirit” in January 2013) were heavy, dramatic, musically intense shows, and he wanted to work on a lighter project for the spring show.
“Unfortunately, that idea hit a few snags and we ended up switching our show to ‘Into the Woods’ back in December,” he said.
Marszalkowski said he has previous experience with “Into the Woods”, as he was the music director for the musical once at a high school once at the college level. This is his first time serving as the stage director as well.
“The music in the show is incredibly complex, both for the singers and the instrumentalists – the writing is reminiscent of a film score, with underscore setting the mood and repetitive themes that the audience will come to recognize,” he said. “It is an extremely challenging piece of theater, but one that I knew my students would enjoy.”
Pacelli musicals are very popular with theater-goers because the shows are high quality and the audience can see friends and family be involved in a production, Marszalkowski said.
“We’ve established a reputation for theatrical excellence over the past few years and are drawing more and more community members to our shows,” he said. “The reactions and comments to our shows have been overwhelmingly positive.”
The cast is comprised of students from all grades at Pacelli, and features Carleen Baron, Maria Baumann, Zach Brocken, Paula Charneski, Nicole Congdon, Brooke Filtz, Hannah Formella, Mike Fuller, Phil Grygleski, Dalton Guinn, Maria Jamison, Austin Konkol, Emma Kroening, Ethan Liss, Austin Mansavage, Lucas Molski, Christie Moore, Patrick Rath, Halie Schmitz, Zach Serafin, Camille Shibilski, Mary Claire Shibilski, Mary Sowa, Molly Wirtz and Pamela Zhang.