From Brigadoon to Chicago to Pippin, Wildwood Summer Theatre has spent many summers producing a variety of musicals in the D.C. metro area. But what makes this summer special is that Wildwood Summer Theatre will be celebrating its 50th season with Stephen Sondheim’s fairy-tale classic Into the Woods.
Wildwood Summer Theatre is a nonprofit theatre company that has produced musicals since its 1965 production of Bye, Bye Birdie. What makes this company so unique is that the organization is entirely youth-run! Company members range from 14 to 25, and many are professional and pre-professional artists who have volunteered their time for valuable experience and in the process create memorable shows and lasting relationships with fellow company members.
“WST meant a lot to me during every high school summer,” says Wildwood alum Kristin McCabe, who participated in shows from 1986-1990. “ It was a terrific opportunity for so many people, and although I didn’t end up pursuing theatre or related arts later in life, I know many fellow WSTers who did–and it’s not really surprising, because the experience both attracted already-talented people and taught the rest of us how to do theatre really well. Plus that there’s no better place to meet cool people and spend every waking hour.”
Katherine Worley, who has been a WST company member since 2011, believes that WST gives students and growing artists opportunities that might not otherwise be available to them. “The fact that our company comprises of all-youth aged 14-25 gives us a unique edge compared to local theatre companies. We produce shows that have audience members shocked that we are all young adults and take on the roles and responsibilities rivaling seasoned professionals” Worley is a WST Board Member and will be playing the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods.
Wildwood is continuing their pattern of exceptional work this summer with their production of Into the Woods. Director Devin Goodman feels that this the perfect show to celebrate Wildwood’s 50th season, because it not only shows what WST is capable of producing, but also thematically complements where WST is today.
“The show itself tells a story of persevering in the face of adversity and learning how to survive when it feels you are on your own out in the big, scary world. As an all-youth company, WST certainly faces its fair share of adversity, yet we have somehow managed to band together for fifty consecutive seasons to produce quality production after quality production.”
Into the Woods features a cast and creative team of both seasoned and new WST Company members. The role of Jack is played by Adan Garcia, who is also the Director of Fundraising for WST and is currently a Master of Public Policy students at the University of Maryland, College Park and has competed on two seasons of American Idol.
The Witch is played by Kaedy Fischer, who is going into her senior year in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting program at Shenandoah Conservatory.
Michelle Huey, who is playing Rapunzel, has performed as part of the Wolf Trap Youth Ensemble in the 50th Anniversary National Tour of The Sound of Music, traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with The Laramie Project and was Val in WST’s production of A Chorus Line last year.
Other cast members include Chris Walkup, Kristina Hopkins, Felice Amsellem, Wesley Diener, Katherine Worley, Gabrielle Rambo, Michelle Schrier, Emma Sophie Moore, Kayli Modell, Courtney James, William Jeffreys, Julia Link, Bryan Eng, Noah Beye, Gavin Kramar, and Matthew Popkin.
Into the Woods opens tonight Friday, July 18th and plays through July 26, 2014 at Albert Einstein High School –11135 Newport Mill Road, in Kensington, MD. For tickets, purchase them at online, by phone (240) 583-0978, or at the door by cash or check.