From April 6 to 8 at 7 p.m. in Old Chapel, The Union College Mountebanks are presenting their spring musical, “Into the Woods.” The show puts a twist on classic fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. The Concordiensis sat down with director Jordan Isaacs and producer Arielle Singer for an exclusive interview on the inner workings for the production.
Andrea Becker: Can you tell us a little bit about the musical and what the audience can expect?
Arielle Singer: Think of “Into the Woods” as all your favorite fairy tales combined into a musical. You have Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and The Beanstalk all living in the same world and having intertwining paths.
Jordan Isaacs: “Into the Woods” is a fun and silly show. The audience should expect some well known fairy tales unraveling into chaos.
AB: Why did you choose “Into the Woods” for the spring Mountebanks musical?
AS: The Mountebanks club has a long standing tradition of doing student-run productions. This started over a hundred years ago when the club did mostly plays and actually performed in the Nott. Over the years, as the club has evolved, we’ve begun doing musicals. Students interested in directing a show must propose it to the club for approval. “Into the Woods” was this year’s approved spring show.
JI: “Into the Woods” is one of my favorite musicals of all times. I had to.
AB: What was your vision for the production in terms of costumes, casting, set and aspects of that nature?
AS: I wanted to help bring these traditionally medieval characters into a non-specific time, I know that seems a bit overdone nowadays, but I wanted the characters to not be limited, by the clothes on their backs, in what they could do. Our lovely set designers Lindsey Randle ’20 and Alex Askenazy ’20 truly came up with a vision of how to turn Old Chapel into a forest utilizing vines, overlays of curtains, and tapestries. Our lighting designer Aaron Rapaport ’20 is also a key piece to our creative team as he has been able to create lighting that truly reflects the moods that are happening on stage.
AB: What are the most challenging aspects of putting together a completely student run show especially taking into account the iconic nature of “Into the Woods?”
AS: The biggest issue with a student run production is you’re sort of on your own. Our usual experience has been that two or three students really step up and take charge. This year, however, has been wonderfully different in that we have had so many members of the class of 2020 step up and take charge in this production. It really is a team effort, everyone has to work together or else we cannot succeed.
AB: Why should students come to see this musical?
AS: First of all, it’s free! But seriously, it’s a really fun musical with a 17-person cast and an 11 person crew, so even if you’re not a theatre person you should definitely come out and support your friends! AB: What do you hope the audience takes away from this musical?
AS: I hope the audience will see all the hard work we’ve put in for the last 14 weeks, despite minor setbacks. This show is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work, for many of us, so I really hope that that translates to the audience. On top of that, I hope that the audience leaves the show with a sense of community and hope, as a key message in the show is that no one is alone.