Chasing the Dreams on Stage and in Life in Springfield

West Springfield High presents ‘Into the Woods.’

The drama program at West Springfield High School has chosen “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine as their spring production for the 2018 school year, which engages variety and a wide ranging cast to end the drama season at the school.

The cast of characters features a variety of fairy tale characters chasing a variety of dreams, dealing with what happens when they live happily ever after or not. There’s not really one lead, so it gives various students a shot at the spotlight.

According to Bernie DeLeo, the theater teacher at West Springfield, this play was chosen because it offers every student involved an opportunity to participate. “We also decided to double-cast almost the entire play as we had such a deep bench of talent, and wanted to give more people opportunities to shine,” DeLeo said.

The subject matter of chasing dreams is similar to what high school students are facing in the teenage years, told through various fairy tale characters. When they think they’ve found their dreams, it’s not always as expected. The second act of the play, characters deal with tragedy, which can happen in real life too. “Even though it’s filtered through fairy tale characters, which makes the story more accessible to younger actors and audiences, it’s mature material from an adult perspective with great messages about resilience and community,” DeLeo said. Both DeLeo and chorale director, Dustin Brandt appreciate Stephen Sondheim’s role as a composer/lyricist.

Since a majority of the play takes place in the forest, there aren’t many scene changes, and this works well with West Springfield High School, since the school is going through an extensive renovation.

The play runs two separate weekends with two casts – Orange Cast (with mostly seniors & juniors) runs May 4-6, and Blue Cast (with some seniors, and various underclassmen) runs May 10-12.

On Saturday, May 12 from 12 noon – 4 p.m., they’re having a Spartan Theatre Homecoming, giving tours of the newly renovated spaces and hoping to reconnect with former theatre students.

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