Into The Woods CATS Boston

At the start of May, 15 of our talented performing arts students took to the stage in a performance of Into The Woods, watched by students, teachers, parents and families.

Directed by Annabel Wall, CATS Boston’s theater teacher, this enchanting musical intertwines the plots of several of the Brothers Grimm fairly tales and includes many well-known characters such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. It follows the story of a baker and his wife who are on a quest to lift a curse put on them by a witch so they can start a family. During their journey they encounter a number of storybook characters.

Students ranging from sophomores to seniors were cast in the musical. Due to the close community at CATS Boston and her knowledge of our students’ strengths, Annabel cast the performance based on what each unique students brings to their character.

“We put this musical together incredibly quickly, especially considering how advanced of a show it is!” Annabel explains. “We rehearsed diligently, following a schedule spanning a little over 2 months. During this time, we rehearsed music, singing, stage blocking, and dance. More importantly, we spend time getting to know each other and forming lifelong friendships.”

Students are encouraged to explore the arts at CATS Boston as much as academics and athletics. Taking part in live performance benefits our students in many ways. It provides skills that our students will take with them after they leave us and will enrich their personal growth and self-belief.

“It takes so much bravery to go on stage in front of your peers. Live production builds confidence and character. More importantly, it builds community” says Annabel. Elaborating further she adds “Musicals like Into the Woods sharpen critical thinking skills and moral reasoning. Character analysis of the rich cast of characters helps students gain a deeper understanding of the story, connections between characters, and the playwright’s intentions. Students learn to work as an ensemble, gaining skills such as communication, collaboration, trust, and group problem-solving.”

With such a talented cast, Leonardo’s portrayal of the Baker with depth and precision has to be commended. His acting and vocal talents transformed the song No More from a simple ballad to a heart-wrenching epiphany. Stef played the Baker’s Wife, with such love for the character and the world around her, she mesmerized the audience. “I loved being part of this fascinating production” Stef said. “Working with the cast is really fun. Music has always been my passion and being able to mix it with theater is a beautiful experience. I recommend everyone tries it at least once.”

Ikepo took to the stage as The Witch. Her superior vocal talents and her performance of Witch’s Lament and Last Midnight were absolutely enthralling. Of her experience, Ikepo said “I was so super excited to be a part of it. Though it was challenging, it helped me improve my singing and acting skills. I’ve made a lot of meaningful memories.”

While Kamilly, who played Little Red with impeccable comedic timing and impressive vocals, drew the audience’s attention with her electric energy. She balanced this comedic brilliance with beautiful childlike wonder and fear in the second act allowing the audience to fall in love with her character. “It’s my first time singing and acting on stage” explained Kamilly. “As someone who’s very passionate about performing arts, this is a very exciting and special debut for me.”

CATS Boston cast Into the Woods

A CATS Boston production is a unique and special event as students and staff from across the school collaborate to bring the performance to life. As well as the students in the cast, there were 24 dedicated students backstage supporting the performance. They were responsible for key elements of making the performance such an incredible success such as the costumes, props, stage management and set construction. Joining this backstage team were Patrick Dalton, Music teacher, who set up the lights and sound, as well as Kent Archer, our Visual Arts Department Chair, and Helen Haggerty and Mark Phelan, both Visual Arts teachers, who designed and built the wonderful set.

Reflecting on the performances, Annabel said “I cannot express how grateful I am for our Into the Woods family. Everyone should be incredibly proud of the brilliant performances we put on.”

The Arts are one of the three pillars of student life at CATS Academy Boston, alongside Academics and Athletics. Students are able to enjoy a wide range of Arts electives as part of their High School Diploma, as well as the CSVPA Arts Academy.

Photos taken by Kamilly and Anabella.