Into the Woods, Jr. - Behind the Scenes


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The Red and Blue cast | The Artistic Team | The Process

The Red and Blue cast

[Picture of the Red Cast.]
The Red Cast

[Picture of the Blue Cast.]
The Blue Cast

Tiera Ali (Red Cast/ Stepsister 1) goes to Friendship Edison. She likes to dance and sing, and in her spare time she likes to draw. When in school, she likes math; when she leaves school she'd like to be an actor.

Alanisha Allen (Blue Cast/Baker's Wife) attends Friendship Edison. She likes singing, dancing, and fashion. She's an honorary student at school and enjoys Math and Reading. The Harry Potter Series are her favorite books because they are about adventure. Alanisha aspires to be a singer/actor like Jennifer Lopez when she grows up.

Sanya Arias (Red Cast/Cinderella) is in the 5th grade and currently attends Marie H. Reed Elementary School. She plays piano and is taking lessons at the Patricia M. Sitar Center.

Kyle Ashford (Red Cast/Wolf) goes to Paul. He plays the double bass in the school jazz band and the string ensemble. He is a member of the chess club and his favorite subjects in school are Spanish, Science, and Math. He'd like to be a football or a basketball player.

Bria Beddoe (Blue Cast/Jack's Mom) attends Friendship Edison. She enjoys acting and singing, and her favorite subject in school in science. She aspires to be an actor like Keanu Reaves or a singer like S Club 7. She dreams of one day being nominated for Best Actress and going to the Oscars.

Keon Bowen (Blue Cast/Jack) goes to Stanton. His favorite subjects in school are Math and Science. He aspires to be a football player like Marshall Faulks of the Rams or like Steven Davis of the Redskins.

Anthony Burke (Blue Cast/Narrator) goes to Paul. He is in the concert band and tap club. He's also in the Booz Allen and Hamilton mentoring program. He's one of the Paul dancers, and on the track team. Anthony likes performing and being active. When he graduates from college, he aspires to be a lawyer.

Ashley L. Burris (Blue Cast/Stepsister 2) was born and raised in Washington, DC. She attends Charles Hamilton Houston Elementary School where she plays basketball, sings in the choir, and plays in the band and orchestra. She enjoys performing to please her audience. Ashley was raised on her grandmother's food and can notify store bought food (such as cakes and/or pies).

Kyara Butler (Red Cast/Cinderella's Mom) attends Houston Elementary School. She is an aspiring model and actress.

Aziz Carew (Blue Cast/Milky 1) goes to Seaton. He enjoys English and Science, and his favorite sport is soccer. When he finishes college, he wants to be in the U.S. Navy.

Kyree Charles (Red Cast/Mysterious Man) goes to Friendship Edison. He likes to write and likes Science at school. He has won a gold medal for track; when he finishes college he wants to be a gym teacher and an NBA star.

LaWondra Collins (Blue Cast/Granny) attends Nalle. She is a straight A student and a local cheerleader, band leader, dancer/actor, and singer. She wants to be a lawyer when she grows up because she feels that not enough people believe in justice.

Michael Cruel (Red Cast/Cinderella's Prince) attends Marie Reed. He is a very artistic person and likes to perform. He is in the choir at school and at St. Paul Baptist Church. He also sings and performs in the Glee Club at school. He aspires to be an R & B singer and music producer. His favorite performer is Brandy; he likes her for her music, acting and personality.

Andre Davis (Red Cast/Jack) goes to Paul. He likes to draw, act and ride his bike. His best grades are in English; he wants to be an actor, graphic designer, or inventor. He would like to invent things that help people who have disabilities.

Chelsetia Davis (Blue Cast/Cinderella) goes to Houston. She enjoys doing art, singing, gospel, and rap music. Her favorite artists are Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Timberland. She aspires to be a dancer and a singer when she grows up.

Dante Dunlap (Red Cast/ Cinderella's Dad)

Cynthia Edwards (Red Cast/Sprite) goes to Friendship Edison. She enjoys dancing and playing the piano. She also likes swimming, and going to music camp in the summer. She aspires to be a dancer or an actor; she'd like to be a ballet dancer at the Kennedy Center. She would like to thank her family for encouraging her to do a lot of activities. She's also in the Spanish Club at school and would like to thank everyone, especially Shirley Ables Music Academy.

Tiffanie Ellis (Red Cast/Jacks' Mom) began her dance training at age 5 at Dance Institute of Washington and the Dance Theater of Harlem's Residence Program. She is a featured soloist with the Houston Elementary School Choir and the Children's Choir of Evangel Church. She is making her broadway debut as "Nala" in The Lion King this fall. She gives thanks to God, Nana, Aunt Dee Dee, Mr. Gibson, D.I.W., and D.T.H.

Jamir Foster (Red Cast/ Witch) goes to Paul. She was one of the Langdon dancers in Langdon Elementary School, and now she is one of the Paul dancers. She likes to dance and act; she wants to be a teacher and/or choreographer of the performing arts somewhere big and famous. She admires the talent of Brittney Spears.

Jessica Foston (Red Cast/ Rapunzel) attends Houston Elementary School.

Dondre Gaither (Red Cast/Milky 1) goes to Houston. He likes playing football and basketball. He likes to do exercise in school, and wants to be a math teacher.

Jennifer Guy (Blue Cast/Stepsister 1) attends Seaton. She sings in the school choir and likes to read. Her favorite book is Harry Potter. When she finishes college, she wants to be a lawyer.

Selena Hailmicheal (Blue Cast/Sprite) attends Marie H. Reed Elementary School. She likes to play basketball and does cheerleading. She likes to read and after school she helps with homework tutoring. She aspires to be either a lawyer or a singer. She likes Mya A and Janet Jackson.


Kristina Herring (Blue Cast/Cinderella's Mom) goes to Paul. She plays saxophone in the school band, dances in the Paul Dance Troupe, and does community service as a part of the Americorps Young Heroes. She's a reporter on the school newspaper and would like to be a lawyer when she leaves college. Kristina also played basketball for four years and set a record for the Catholic Youth Organization for the most assists in the season.

Aaron Hinton

Lawrence Hubb

Cory Ings (Blue Cast/Cinderella's Dad) attends Houston Elementary School. At school he enjoys reading and science. He likes playing tennis and has won several competitions. He also enjoys singing, dancing, and acting; he sings at Johnson Memorial Baptist Church. He admires Venus and Serena Williams.

Jamol Johnson

Keith McCormick (Blue Cast/Baker) goes to Paul. He is in the chorus at school; when he was 10 years old, he was in a cabaret in the 'I Have a Dream' camp. He enjoys gym class at school and likes doing the rope course. Keith takes dance class during after school activities, and wants to be an R & B singer when he grows up. He likes Brittney Spears because she's different from other artists.

Brenda Ordonez (Blue Cast/Milky 2)

Sulaire Parahoo (Blue Cast/Cinderella's Stepmom) attends Paul. She was born in Guyana, lived in Canada for five years, and has been living in America since the beginning of the year. She enjoys dance and drama. She wants to be a teacher in Math, Science, or Geography because those are her strongest subjects.

Oluwatoyin Pyne (Understudy) goes to Paul. She loves being in the spotlight. She enjoys singing, dancing, and acting- especially acting. She likes drawing at school; she won an art contest in the 3rd grade at Bright Wood Elementary. She admires Denzel Washington and Halle Berry for their achievements at the Oscars.

James Roberson (Blue Cast/Sprite) attends Seaton. His favorite subjects in school are physical education and science. When he grows up he aspires to be a scientist and a baseball player. James would like to find out if there really is a Loch Ness Monster.

Donte Rogers (Red Cast/Baker) goes to Paul. He's a very open person, and loves to share with others. When he finishes college, he aspires to be a pastry chef and a basketball player.

Timyra Roundtree (Red Cast/Red Riding Hood) goes to Seaton. She's a cheerleader for Uptown Impact football team. She enjoys singing and dancing; she sings in the choir at church and at school. She also likes Math.

Jamal Sanders

Kiara Spurgeon (Blue Cast/Red Riding Hood) goes to Paul. She's a double- dutch jumper and the class treasurer. Her favorite subject is Math; she also likes to dance in the pom-pom dance troupe. Kiara aspires to be a pediatrician because she likes children, and she wants to help them to feel better if they are sick.

Imani Stewart (Blue Cast/Sprite) goes to Friendship. She does tutoring and is in the choir at school and at Union Temple Baptist Church. She's an honor student, and received an award in 2001. She's also a member of the Spanish club. Imani started dancing when she was 5, and has been to the Dance Theater of Harlem Residency.

DeWayne K. Thompson (Blue Cast/Steward) attends Seaton Elementary School. He enjoys drawing; his drawing of Martin Luther King Junior has been put up at his school. He mostly likes drawing football players and animals. His favorite football team is the Washington Redskins. Dewayne would like to be a scientist and an artist.

Caryn Thorpe (Red Cast/Granny) goes to Marie H. Reed. She likes reading and spelling at school and would like to be a cardiologist. She's in a dance and praise group in her after school program; they will be putting together a play and performing it.

Wendy Turcios (Red Cast/Stepsister 2) goes to Marie Reed. When she grows up, she'd like to be an actress. Her favorite actress is Kirsten Dunst. She likes to play soccer and does drama in After School activities. She likes to do water color painting; most of all she likes to have fun.

Charlena Washington (Blue Cast/Rapunzel) goes to Marie Reed. At school, she plays the drums and gets good grades. This program "has been an experience for me, because it shows us how to be experts in real plays." Charlena would like to be a lawyer when she grows up, because she thinks the cases would be fun.

Meghan Washington (Blue Cast/Witch) goes to Paul. She takes dance and music class at school. She loves being in the arts; she also plays the French horn and the piano. She aspires to be a performer in the music industry. Her most admired performers are Debbie Allen, Patti LaBelle, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, and Michael Jackson.

Nigil Weldon (Blue Cast/Wolf) goes to Friendship Edison. He likes math and plays football after school. He aspires to be a performer; a comedian, like Martin Lawrence. Nigil also enjoys writing poetry.

Julius West (Red Cast/Sprite) goes to Friendship Edison. He loves football; he's a very fast and talented runner. He loves math and gets along well with others. He aspires to be a football player like Emmit Smith, and would like to have his own business to bring out his own sneakers. Julius would like to be a role model.

Brittney Williams (Red Cast/Milky 2) is a fifth grade student at Nalle Community School. She's a participant in the mentor/ Freddie Mac Foundation. She sings with her school's choir, and the Master's Bouquet at Evergreen Baptist Church. Her hobbies are singing, dancing, skating, and reading. She aspires to be a teacher and work for Freddie Mac, because they support her school and help very much. She's very energetic and full of life.

Shana Williams (Red Cast/Baker's Wife)

Vivian Williams (Red Cast/Cinderella's Stepmom) attends Paul. She sings at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church, does ballet and modern dance at school, and does acting at the Latin American Youth Center. She's been in several plays at school and at Webb Elementary, with the Tigers troupe, won awards for double- dutch, cheerleading, majorettes and pom- pom's and for best gardener at the National Arboretum gardening club. She aspires to be a dancer and an actress. She also writes poetry and has had her work published. Her favorite poets are Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes.

Aniysa Wilson (Red Cast/Sprite) is eleven years old and is attending Seaton Elementary School. She has taken dance classes under Mr. Fabian Barnes and appeared in his spring recital at the Lisner Auditorium. Her style of dancing is modern and jazz. Aniysa is also on the double dutch team at her school and last year won 1st place in a citywide competition. Her favorite subject in school is Math.

Nelson Zhu (Blue Cast/Mysterious Man) goes to Seaton. Last year, he won an essay competition for Black History Month. His favorite movie is A World is Not Enough. Nelson likes Math and aspires to be a scientist or a mathematician. He would like to invent a formula that makes Math and Science easier.


The Artistic Team

[Rick Thompson with Meghan as the Witch.]
Director Rick Thompson with Meghan as Witch/Blue Cast

Richard D. Thompson (Director) began performing at age ten, since that time he has worked as an actor, dancer/choreographer, arts administrator, arts educator, and director. His credits include founder of an African dance troupe, Associate Producer of the Penumbra Theatre Company, choreographer for PORGY AND BESS at the Virginia Opera and video director for OREGON TRAIL, AMAZON TRAIL II, ROAD ADVENTURES USA, and THE AMERICAN GIRLS PREMIERE educational CD-ROM products for the Learning Company. His stage directing credits include productions for The Children's Theatre Company, The Illusion Theater, Penumbra Theatre Company, Minnesota Opera Company, and the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. Mr. Thompson also directed the Kennedy Center's production of SUNDIATA: THE LION KING.

[Rosemary Pardee with Andre.]
Costume Design Consultant, Rosemary Pardee with Andre

Rosemary Pardee (Costume Designer) has long been regarded as Washington's busiest costume designer. Her career has spanned twenty-seven years, almost five hundred productions, dozens of theatre and film companies and little sleep. Her work has been seen at The Kennedy Center, the National Theatre, the Folger Theatre and the Smithsonian Institute. She holds resident design positions at the Olney Theatre Center, the Round House Theatre, InterACT Theatre Company, Everyman Theatre, the National Players and Galludet University's Department of Theatre. Rosemary also adjudicates the Maryland State Theatre Scholarship Program. She has designed costumes for national tours of The Importance of Being Earnest, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Frankenstein and A Few Good Men. Ms. Pardee is a recipient (and seven-time nominee) of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Costume Design. She has recently completed working on both The Miracle Worker and The Great White Hope at Arena Stage. For the Kennedy Center's Youth and Family Programs, she has designed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and The Magic Rainforest.

[Cherry Foster with student.]
Cheryl Foster has a discussion with one of the students at Marie Reed

Cheryl Foster (Set/Props designer) Multimedia artist, Cheryl Foster was born in Washington, DC and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Howard University. Beyond her emotion packed, mammoth murals and vibrant mosaics, Cheryl Foster is an accomplished arts educator. She serves as an Artist in Residence for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and also authors, coordinates and presents Family and Teen Programs for the National Gallery of Art. Ms. Foster can be found in classrooms across the country, weaving the creative arts into traditional classroom curriculums that support the classroom teacher's objectives. From puppetry to quilting, students at all grade and skill levels are provided with exciting and often therapeutic outlets. Science, math, language arts, social studies, history, all are enhanced and reinforced, using art experiences. Cheryl Foster's artist residencies serve as a search engine for a fantastic voyage of self- realization and wonder for the student, teacher, and the artist.

[Thomas Hartman rehearsing with cast members.]
Musical Director Thomas Hartman rehearsing with cast members

Thomas Hartman (Musical Director), born in New York, studied the violin as a child and began his professional career as a jazz trumpet player when still in his early teens. While at American University he became a classical guitarist. Later he studied at the Royal Spanish Conservatory in Madrid and attended the master classes of Segovia. He made his guitar recital debut in New York and has performed throughout North America, South America, and Europe.
After moving to England, Thomas Hartman was able to develop his early interest in conducting. He received an Italian scholarship to study with Sergiu Celibidache. He has conducted the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, and Bologna Opera Orchestras and has conducted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera House, the Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, the Theater at the Palace of Versailles, and the Boston Ballet. His London theater conducting has included Bernstein's "West Side Story", the London Contemporary Dance Theatre's "Cloven Kingdom", the Royal Ballet School production of Britten's opera "Noyes Fludde" and many other productions. As Music Director of the British Chamber Orchestra, the Oxford Orchestra, and Surrey Philharmonia he has broadcast on BBC, ITV, and many European radio stations. From 1996 to 1998 he was Music Director of Kingston Philharmonia. He holds the "Honor Prize of the City of Vienna" for the interpretation of Schoenberg and has conducted the Redcliffe Concerts of British Music at the Royal Festival Hall. His choral conducting prizes include the Cheltenham Festival Cup and the Bourneville Festival Shield and he has conducted numerous schools and festival choirs.
Thomas Hartman has been composing since his mid-teens. His formal composition studies were with Reginald Smith-Brindle. He has written a Requiem for choir and large orchestra, two operas, two ballets, three documentary film scores, theater music, piano and guitar solos, and a widely used Guitar Method. His children's opera, "The Minotaur" was premiered in July 1987. His ballet music for Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "Winter Dreams" was performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1991, 1994, 1996, and 1998 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York in 1991, at the Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo in1992, at the Boston Ballet in 2000 and at the Palace of Versailles in 2002. It has been recorded for BBC Television.

The Process

An essential part of the Into the Woods Jr. experience is designing and fabricating. There's one participating classroom in each of the seven residency schools and it's these students who do the actual designing of the production. So the show has, in effect 175 designers. Along with designing, those students assist in the fabrication of costumes, scenery, properties, and learn about the process of putting it all together.

The photos below show some of the students hard at work with designing and construction with Set Consultant Cheryl Foster and Costume Consultant Rosemary Pardee. We also see rehearsals in progress with Music Director Thomas Hartman and Director Rick Thompson.

[Photo of auditions.]
Auditions

[Photo of cast members rehearsing vocals.]
Rehearsing vocals with maestro Tom Hartman

[Photo of cast members warming at rehearsals.]
Warming up with director Rick Thompson is a ritual for the first 10 minutes of rehearsal time. It's fun - but no interruptions please... (especially from the adults)!

[Photo of cast rehearsing with Rick Thompson.]
[Photo of cast rehearsing with Rick Thompson.]
Rehearsing with Director, Rick Thompson

[Photo of cast member learning her lines.] And in between rehearsals, you should be learning your lines!

[Photo of cast member writing her biography for Stagebill.]
Or writing your biography for Stagebill

[Photo of cast members relaxing.]
After rehearsal

[Photo of a cast member during a costume fitting.]
[Photo of a cast member during a costume fitting.]
Fitting costumes with Consultant Costume Designer Rosemary Pardee and her team

[Photo of cast members constructing the set.]
[Photo of cast members constructing the set.]
Constructing parts of the set

[Photo of a cast member milking a cow.]
Learning what it is like to milk a real cow!