Shepherd University's Marinoff Theater. Photo Courtesy of Shepherd University Theater.

My Experience as a Cast Member of Into the Woods

Not every college student’s experience includes being a part of a theatre production, but I am glad that I made it a priority for my education to take part in a school musical.  

When I got an email in August that the Shepherd University School of Music was putting on a production of Into the Woods, I was thrilled. I always told myself if there was ever an opportunity to be a part of its production, I would make sure to participate.

  As a senior, I knew my schedule was already going to be busy between starting my capstone project, classes, work, and other extracurricular activities, but I made it a priority to at the very least go to the audition.

My first week of the Fall semester was spent practicing a song for the audition and daydreaming about what role I could be given.  

I felt a little out of my element with all of it, especially since I had not participated in a play since middle school, but my heart pulled me through all the doubts and hesitations my mind so desperately wanted to focus on.

After my audition, I felt so good about how the performance went. That same night, the cast list was released, and my name was next to Rapunzel.  

Immediately, I began looking up clips on YouTube from other performances to familiarize myself with the role.

Rapunzel has always been my favorite fairy tale princess, so it was easy for me to connect with her character. Throughout the rehearsals, I have noticed drastic improvements in how I connect with my character and how that impacts my delivery of lines, my facial expressions, and how I sing.  

The whole cast put a lot of hard work into making everything happen on stage.

We had to learn blocking, figure out how to interact with props, get familiar with doing hair and makeup, all while remembering all the lines and music we had worked on for the past several months. Some cast members even had quick changes where they had to change from one costume to another, either because their character went through a transformation, or because they were playing multiple characters.

We had many long rehearsals for the crew to figure out lighting, to practice using microphones, and to have full runs of the show before opening night.  

By the end of it, the hard work paid off and we did multiple shows in front of several different audiences. One of my favorite performances was for the local Wildwood Middle School, because they were so engaged with the story. We had a talk session with the students where they could ask any cast or crew member questions. It was a lot of fun hearing their perspectives on the show. 

Taking part in a local theatre production gave me such a wonderful creative outlet. While it was time consuming, and nerve inducing, it was an incredibly fulfilling part of my days. I am truly proud of myself for taking a step towards my creative side in a way that also allowed me to connect with my community.

Any student that has passion for creative arts should make time at least once throughout their college years to get involved in a community-based outlet for their passion. For me, this production has also helped me gain credits towards my Music minor, so it has been academically beneficial as well.

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