From show choir to show tunes

Three sophomore leads trek ‘Into The Woods’

The lights beat down on the stage, and all eyes in the auditorium are set on one person. Exhaling, the future leads take the stage. Anxieties wash away, and the spotlight shines brightly. The trek Into the Woods has began. 

Premiering Oct. 4, the fall musical showcases three sophomores as leads: Mary Mancuso as Little Red Riding Hood, Tristan Beck as Jack, and Brooke Hilding as Cinderella. 

“I was excited, but also scared, because Tantillo, the music director, said, ‘Are you sure you’re ready for this role?’, so this summer I’ve just been practicing and getting ready for the role,” Beck said.

Auditions were held last May. Mancuso, Beck, and Hilding were all freshmen at the time with a copious amount of nerves coursing through their veins. With pressure to be as good as their upperclassmen counterparts, their anxieties brought out the best in them.

“[Being one of the only underclassmen to get a lead], it’s exciting. The only other upperclassman I know that has a lead role is [senior] Aron Murnane, the baker, so I set my standards really high during auditions,” Beck said. 

According to teacher and musical director Michelle Williamson there was no need to be nervous, as regardless of age, no actor is preferred over the other. 

“Underclassman can always be leads. We audition everyone, and whoever does the best with the singing and line reading/scenes is cast,” Williamson said. 

As rehearsals began, the sophomores looked up to the upperclassmen as role models for guidance. 

“100%, the more experienced members help guide me. Some people know how to conduct like [senior] Mckenna Cottone, and sometimes we all watch her conduct instead of  [director of choral activities] Ms. Tantillo, and she always gets so into it. Aron Murnane taught me how to sing higher because ‘Jaunt to the Sky’ is very hard,” Beck said. 

Still getting a grip on the extra homework they are receiving this year, juggling school, showchoir, and musical can be overwhelming.

“It’s a lot. On days I have both musical and show choir, I’m here from 7-9 pm. So, I have to find small ten minute slots in my day to do my homework and get it done because I have so much other stuff to do, ” Mancuso said.

No matter how much time it takes away from their day and how much work they have to add, they enjoy every minute of every practice. 

“It’s very time consuming, especially with show choir, because I don’t get a break from three to nine or ten at night. The thing is, I enjoy it so much that it doesn’t really matter because I just enjoy what I’m doing so much,” Hilding said. 

For these three sophomores, their unbreakable bond was strengthened as the time they spent together increased. Whether it be in the halls in the morning, during musical rehearsal, or dancing during show choir, Mancuso, Beck and Hilding are in it together.