Burtness Theatre takes outsiders “Into the Woods”


Cast members perform specific fairytales in “Into the Woods” at the Burtness Theatre. Photo submitted.

Incorporating UND’s first lady and local high school student — the UND Theatre Department has been working for the past six weeks to perfect the performance of “Into the Woods” — a musical production that takes its audience into a world of fairytales and enchantment.

The play is a highly acclaimed piece, as it was the winner of the 1988 Tony awards for Best Score and Best Book, and the story involves many classic fairytale characters such as Cinderella, Little Riding Hood, The Big Bad Wolf and Jack and the Beanstalk.

This fairytale is unique and differs from other traditional fables as it explores life after happily ever after and discovers what happens after everyone gets their wish.

This is the first time the university has performed “Into the Woods,” and, so far, the shows have been garnering a positive reaction.

On opening night, the Burtness Theatre was filled with numerous UND students and faculty anticipating the performance.

Choreographer and Co-Director Ali Angelone said creating this musical production has been a great and challenging experience.

“Musicals are always challenging for the actors who are asked not only to deliver their lines truthfully, but also to sing and dance at the same time,” Angelone said.

While construction of the play was a unique challenge, assembling the cast members for the play also was a tricky procedure.

The casting for this play was slightly different than previous UND performances held at the Burtness because 16-year-old junior at Central High School Alex Barta plays one of the lead roles of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.

“We really wanted an age-appropriate Jack,” Angelone said. “Since Alex is 16, he was a perfect fit.”

Other notable cast mentions are UND’s First Lady Marcia Kelley, who is also a part of the production playing the voice of the giant’s wife.

Both directors and cast members have put in a demanding amount of work into creating this play. Students involved in the play have rehearsed five days a week, four hours a day for the past six weeks. Students also have worked behind the scenes in order to create a great performance.

“We really have a solid group of young actors here at UND who want to be pushed to the best of their abilities and who strive for perfection,” Angelone said.

The student’s efforts to give a great show are clear, as “Into the Woods” is full of sharp, quick-witted lyrics during the musical performances and intense, energized acting throughout the entire show.

The Burtness Theatre will have more performances of “Into the Woods” Nov. 20 to 22. Angelone encourages all students to come see the performance.

“Our students work very hard in order to create diverse stories for everyone to enjoy,” Angelone said. “As life can be very busy, it’s nice to take a break from everyday activities and sit down to watch someone else’s story. We are here to provide that for you.”

Amanda Hefner is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].