Upper school presents ‘Into the Woods,’ an interwoven musical journey


Photo credit: Rebecca Aranda

The witch reveals her spell to The Baker and his wife in a scene from the upper school musical, “Into the Woods.” Senior Grace DeLossa played the Baker, Bryce Collis (’25) played The Baker’s Wife and Anaiya Asomugha (’24) played the witch. The musical was performed in the Blackbox Theater Nov. 11-13.

By Rose Sarner, Culture Editor

The three-time Tony Award winning musical “Into the Woods” filled the Blackbox Theater with musical melodies and extravagant costumes. The musical follows Cinderella, Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk” and a baker and his wife as they embark on a journey of both magic and danger. During their expedition to reverse a witch’s spell, The baker and his wife connect with a variety of storybook characters in hopes of gathering ingredients for the spell.

Audience members filled the Blackbox Theater Nov. 11-13 to watch the annual upper school musical come to life. In addition to the cast’s two-week-long tech rehearsals, they also rehearsed for two months prior in preparation for the musical. Auditions began on the first day of school, and rehearsals continued until the musical was performed. 

Senior Grace DeLossa has been a member of Archer theater since sixth grade and played The Baker’s Wife. Initially, DeLossa auditioned for the witch; however, she said she was immediately drawn to The Baker’s Wife because of the strong and confident characteristics she displays.

“I think part of the thing that made The Baker’s Wife so special to me is that she is such a strong person. She knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to do what it takes to get there,” DeLossa said. “In her relationship with The Baker, she is the one who keeps them on track during their journey.”

Senior Isabelle Verdery, who played Cinderella, has been a member of Archer theater since seventh grade. She said that since “Into the Woods” marked her last time on an Archer stage, she has been taking the time since to reminisce on all the special moments she shared with her theater family.

“It’s really weird, after performing all these years, to wrap my head around the fact that that was the last time I’ll ever be on an Archer stage. It was pretty hard for me to accept, and it’s also scary knowing that I might not find another community as supportive or as tightly knit or just one that feels so much like family again,” Verdery said. “I’ve been reminiscing a lot on all of my past experiences in Archer theater, and I am making sure I am staying in touch with the whole cast because I don’t want to lose those connections.”

This was the first year Archer productions could return to performing shows indoors since 2019, which allowed the musical to take place in the blackbox with creative set designs, lights and sound systems. This was senior Margret Morris’s first Archer musical, and she said that the sense of community and excitement in the theater program made her feel welcomed and supported.

“Although this was my first year, and I did not have a huge role like most seniors, I was thrilled to be a part of such a fantastic musical,” Morris said. “I have never experienced the passion, sense of community and excitement that makes Archer theater come alive. I know I will cherish these last few months forever.”

In addition to musical director Samara Kelly, assistant director Stella Lyne (’23) assisted with auditions, rehearsals and the final show. The Archer theater program encourages students to take lead roles on set designs and lighting to highlight the various roles that are necessary in creating a musical.

During tech week, cast members stayed after school to put on hair and makeup, four hours to practice and bond with their fellow production members. Senior Azel Alkadiri, who played Rapunzel said Archer theater will always hold a special place in her heart and she looks forward to coming back in the future to watch her castmates’ next performances.

“It’s not only cast mates but a family that was created through this musical,” Alkadiri said. “You become really close by the time the musical comes to an end, and it’s really hard, but it’s a beautiful journey. I know that all of those girls are going to continue to flourish and become tremendous actors and performers. I look forward to coming back and seeing all their accomplishments.”

“Into the Woods” illustrates the importance of working together, collaborating and supporting each character in hopes of breaking the witch’s spell. DeLossa, Alkadiri and Morris all emphasized the magic of Archer theater highlighted in the “unforgettable bonds” created between cast members.

“There’s a lot of specialness in the way that ‘Into the Woods’ is laid out because it’s all interwoven,” DeLossa said. “I like to think of the way that theater at Archer is similar as it weaves a picture — a tapestry, if you will — of that experience. For example, the shows that we’ve done, the people that were in the cast and crew and the audience are all woven together to make the show come to life.”