"Into the Woods" (May 2021)
The Ellis Theatre Guild presented "Into the Woods," as the spring play on Thursday, May 20 through Sunday, May 23, 2021. The Brothers Grimm fairytales came to life in an outdoor setting that celebrated the return of live theatre. This is a historic production in many ways – from the cast to the set to the costumes and music.
Naomi Ude ’21, who shined in "Chicago" and "Hairspray," took center stage as the Witch. This was the first time in Hill School history that a Black female student played the lead role in a performance.
Naomi led a cast and crew of 42 talented students, who presented the largest production ever at The Hill. Not only was the play held outdoors, but a section of the Far Fields was transformed into a 150-foot stage, all of which was constructed by students. Once on stage, a colorful combination of costumes and music wove the show together.
Students, under the tutelage of Bobby Goodrich, a Philadelphia-area wig and costume designer, crafted handmade costumes for each member of the cast. Students also worked with Anne Cubberly, an artist who specializes in giant puppet-making, to create the “Giant's Wife” that was used in the play. Meryl Streep, who played the “Witch” in the 2014 film adaptation of the musical, voiced the “Giant’s Wife” in Hill's performance!
Finally, while this performance of "Into the Woods" featured the classic storyline and lyrics, the audience enjoyed new orchestrations of the music. Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the musical’s original music and lyrics, signed off on updated instrumentation of the music that has more modern sound.