Coal City is well-known for its school musicals. Its student actors are always top-notch, and its adult helpers talented and committed.
Beginning Thursday, the tradition continues with Coal City Middle School’s production of “Into the Woods Jr.,” Stephen Sondheim’s musical that brings such Brothers Grimm characters as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, the baker and the baker’s wife, Jack and his mother, to life.
Jack Micetich, Coal City High School and musical co-director of the middle school’s play, described the musical.
“This musical centers on a baker and his wife, who wish to have a child, Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s festival, and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk,” Micetich said. “When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse and wind up changed forever.”
Micetich teaches theater at the high school and also directs the high school plays, but he said he loves returning to the middle school, where he held his first Coal City School District job.
He said the actors in the musical are very talented and have been devoted to the production since the first week of school.
“Our middle school musicals are bigger than most high schools,” Micetich said. “For what these students accomplished in five weeks is remarkable. Ninety percent of it is sung. It continues to move throughout the whole thing.”
About 75 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders auditioned for the 36 spots in the musical.
“It’s not a huge ensemble,” he said. “It’s a much smaller group than last year.”
The middle school’s musical last year was, “13,” which had a cast of about 50. The year before, the students put on, “The Lion King.”
The biggest difference for many of the actors this year was having to learn how to get into adult roles.
“They are playing these more adult characters,” Micetich said. “I think the biggest challenge was to be able to tap into this different way of thinking.”
Five weeks is not a lot of time to put a good musical together, Micetich said, but everyone pulled together and made it work.
Sometimes their director decided to switch up the roles.
“Some of the kids memorized 110 pages overnight,” he said.
Micetich said the audience is in for a real treat with this musical. The set is stunning, he said. The costumes, hair and makeup are fabulous, and the singing, acting and choreography are not to be missed.
“Come see these kids go through this journey,” he said. “The caliber of what comes out of our school district is something we’re very proud of.”
Micetich said children who attend can get their pictures taken with the characters after the musical.
Performances of “Into the Woods Jr.,” are at Coal City High School Auditorium, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12; 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct 15.
Tickets are $5 for students and adults, and can be purchased at the door or in advance at bit.ly/CCITW17.