PORT ANGELES — “Into the Woods” is a quest, a jumble, a dark comedy — “basically, just life,” said Tyler Smith, the 17-year-old helping bring it all together tonight.
The Stephen Sondheim musical, performed in theaters from California to Broadway and made into a 2014 movie with Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, is also a kind of miracle.
Two dozen high school student actors, a live chamber orchestra and a production team of nearly 50 are presenting the show for two weekends, both in person and online. The venue: the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.
“I am very proud of my cast and crew. They have persevered through some incredible obstacles to bring this show to the stage,” said Mark Valentine, the teacher and actor directing “Into the Woods.”
“They will be giving it their all, every one of them, for one of the most difficult and challenging musicals to perform,” he added. “Into the Woods” braids several fairy tales into one saga, Valentine said, that will again show people what live theater feels like.
Curtain time is 7 p.m. today, Saturday, and Nov. 19 and 20; Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. this weekend and next.
Face masks are required at the performing arts center, and the live audience there will be limited to the first 250 people. This allows for spacing between households in the auditorium, which has more than 1,100 seats. Tickets at the door will be $15 for the two-and-a-half-hour show, which has one 15-minute intermission.
For those who want to watch the livestream at home, the virtual “doors” will open 25 minutes before each performance. Tickets are $15 per household, and information and purchase is available at pahs.portangelesschools.org, where “Into the Woods” is found under Recent News.
Smith, for his part, portrays Jack in the Beanstalk. He wasn’t planning on taking this role. A senior, Smith was until now a self-described techie who was supposed to be assistant stage manager; he has plenty of experience backstage, having served as propmaster on “Anne of Green Gables” two years ago.
But suddenly, “Into the Woods” needed a Jack to steal things, kill the Giant and help out the good people. Smith agreed to take it all on, “a huge change for me, having all the responsibility,” he said.
“The show is very fun to watch and fun to be in; there are a lot of characters,” Smith added.
The Baker-and-Wife duo, Cinderella and her stepmother, Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and their entourage of creatures — from wolf to witch — are all here. So are the Giant, Granny and the Mysterious Man.
Providing live music from the orchestra pit is the Port Angeles High School chamber ensemble with Nathan Rodahl conducting, while vocal director John Lorentzen coaches the singers.
Patric McInnis directs the technical aspects of the show, “which are many,” Valentine added.
Then there’s the matter of masking, which all of the actors must do. Smith is all right with it; “you have to act more with your body and with your eyes,” he said.
Delfonzo Martinez-Vasquez II, also a senior, plays two roles: the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince. For him, the thrill of being in the show outweighs the hassle of safety precautions.
“There’s dancing, there’s excitement,” Martinez-Vasquez said, adding the whole production is “elegant.”
Its message, he believes, is that while your quest may be difficult, “you can get through it.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.