Wheatley To Take Theatergoers Into The Woods


The Wheatley Theatre Company will present the musical Into the Woods from Thursday, March 1, to Saturday, March 3, each night at 7 p.m., plus a Saturday matinée at 2 p.m.

The story revolves around the once-beautiful witch, who tasks the childless baker and his wife with going into the forest to procure magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree and restore the witch’s beauty. During their journey, they meet Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack, who are each on a quest to fulfill a wish.

“In Into the Woods, Steven Sondheim and James Lapine weave together characters from Grimm’s fairy tales into a magical tale of hope, experience and lessons learned,” explained Andrew Ardito, the show director and Wheatley social studies teacher. “This is a story in which audiences of any age can be entertained and find meaning.”

When reviewing the Broadway play in 1987, Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times, “Cinderella and company travel into a dark, enchanted wilderness to discover who they are and how they might grow up and overcome the eternal, terrifying plight of being alone.”

This musical has become more popular in recent years as a result of Disney’s film adaptation in 2014 with an all-star cast, including Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski and Johnny Depp. Into the Woods is now one of the most performed shows in American high schools, according to National Public Radio.

“This ensemble show has been a challenge to put together,” noted Ardito. “The Wheatley Theatre Company actors worked hard for many months to learn the challenging yet genius music of Sondheim and have done it incredibly well. Throughout the process of learning their lines, developing their characters and practicing the choreography, they have learned so much about teamwork, commitment and the value that they each bring to this production. I am so proud of the enormous talent and heart that our Wheatley students demonstrate on a daily basis.”

Cast members are Hallie ArbitalJacoby as The Witch, Justin Vega as The Baker, Sydney Behar as Baker’s Wife, Kaileigh Fiorillo as Little Red Riding Hood, Kimberly Esquilín as Cinderella, Jacob Kaufman as Jack, Alex Kasparian as Jack’s Mother, Jaime Behar as Rapunzel, Pricilla Prasad as Granny/Cinderella’s Mother, Ally Kim as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Shruti Goyal as Florinda, Devyn Bennett as Lucinda, Emma Melnikov as Narrator, Jason Manzano as Mysterious Man, Max Hochstein as Cinderella’s Prince/The Wolf, Elan Mizhiritsky as Rapunzel’s Prince, Rahul Ajmera as The Steward, Andre Manzano as Cinderella’s Father, Skylar Blechner as Giantess, Alison Amarain as Snow White, Kayla Roberts as Sleeping Beauty, and Sophia Caputo, Charlotte Iannone, Suhani Jain, Pukhraj Kaur, Shania Mehta, Jeffrey Melnikov, Jasmine Singh, Cydney Siskind, Hannah Weinberg and Jace Yagoda in the ensemble.

Into the Woods takes your favorite fairy tales and flips them on their heads, creating twists and turns that you’d never expect from these usually sweet stories,” explained Talia Rosen, Wheatley Theatre Company copresident and an assistant behind the scenes. “The Wheatley Theatre Company brings these well-known characters to life in a whole new way, highlighting the comedy, romance, tragedy and magic that line the twisted tales.”

Reserve a seat for $10 at wheatleytheatrecompany.weebly.com or purchase a ticket at the door at 11 Bacon Rd. in Old Westbury. Senior citizen tickets are free. For more information, email wheatleytheatrecompany@gmail.com.

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Sheri ArbitalJacoby brought more than three decades of publishing experience at national magazines to her former position as editor of the Great Neck Record. She also wrote decorating, travel, food and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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