Audiences experience “happily ever after” with “Into the Woods”


Sophia Smith (‘23) and Sam Sunderland (‘23) take the stage November 3-5 as the Baker and the Baker’s wife in Luther College’s production of “Into the Woods”. Photo courtesy of Nick Greseth (‘23).

Treasured fairytale characters, magic beans, and a wicked witch are not what one might expect to see on a college campus; however, the cast and crew of “Into the Woods” brought all these and more to life. On Thursday, November 3 through Saturday, November 5, students of Luther College Performing Arts left their heart and soul on stage, performing “Into the Woods” in Jewel Theater. 

“Into the Woods”, which was written by Stephen Sondheim and directed by Adjunct Faculty of Music Lynne Rothrock (‘85), featured a cast of 25 performers. Sam Sunderland (‘23), who played the Baker, explained the experience of being in the production.

“I didn’t do these kinds of very large, intense productions in high school because we didn’t have the money or numbers to put forth the effort needed for a performance like this,” Sunderland said. “We just have a lot of talented people here at Luther, so it’s nice to be with a committed and talented group that I hadn’t really had in high school. It’s just more of a professional experience.”

“Into the Woods” opened with the childless Baker and his wife, Little Red getting goods for her grandmother, Cinderella wishing to go to the prince’s ball, and Jack and his mother trying to get milk from their cow Milkywhite. Suddenly, the Witch enters the Baker’s home, telling them how to lift their curse so that they might finally bear a child. They were tasked to bring her a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. Then, they set off on their quest. Along the way, they encounter the unexpected. Sophia Smith (‘23), who played the Baker’s wife, describes what she thought was the most difficult part of preparing for this production. 

“Attempting to produce ‘Into the Woods’ in two months is quite the ambitious undertaking and, quite frankly, there were times I was worried about getting it done in time,” Smith said. “But, somehow we did it. Special shoutout to Linny Briggs (‘23) and [director] Lynne Rothrock for leading us through this experience.” 

From their first time seeing the script to the final curtain call, members of the cast and crew claimed the experience was both challenging and fun. Kalista Farmer (‘23), who played the role of Jack’s mom, reflects what it was like to play such a crucial character.
“When I first saw the cast list I thought, being Jack’s mom, I am probably just going to be doing laundry,” Farmer said. “It was a nice surprise to have a character that has enough time to really fully develop.”

The cast were not alone in their quests. Audience members were with them for every twist and turn all the way through the last song, “Last Midnight”. Attendee Alice Feist (‘23) was awestruck by the talent and dedication of her peers throughout Friday night’s performance.

“My favorite part is when they all sing together,” Feist said. “All of them are on the stage and it’s fun because, now that I’m a senior, I actually know all of these people and they’re in choir with me. They’re all great singers and performers, [and] everyone is so natural with each other up on stage.” 

As the curtain falls on this production of “Into the Woods”, Luther College Performing Arts is already looking ahead to the opening night for their next production. The curtain will rise for “Macbeth” for the first time on November 17. Information on future performances can be found on Luther College Theater’s Instagram or Facebook page.