New London students to go 'Into the Woods'

Cary Ashby • Mar 7, 2019 at 3:00 PM

NEW LONDON — Sixth-grade student Lily Clime isn’t used to being part of the main cast in the New London drama productions.

This year, she plays an evil stepsister and a granny in “Into the Woods Jr.,” which will be performed March 22 and 22. The first performance includes a dinner that starts at 6 p.m.

“I had to study my lines,” said Clime, who received a big assistance from her cousin, third-grade student Gracie Miller. “I had to be serious with all this stuff; I learned I love acting.”

Clime, the daughter of Bryan and Amanda, uses a flip-out fan as a stepsister. 

“We flip it really fast and roll our eyes,” she said.

Another sixth-grader, Madison Smith, is a member of the stage crew. This is her first year helping out behind the scenes instead of being onstage.

“I wanted to try something new,” said the daughter of Luther and Jeanette. 

Smith said being on the stage crew is a lot of hard work, but she enjoys being “one of the important people” on whom the cast depends.

“Into the Woods Jr.” is a fairy-tale story about many characters who travel into the forest in search of different things. Audiences will encounter many familiar faces, including Little Red Riding Hood (fourth-grade student Kennedy Accavallo) and Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk” (freshman Zachary Friess II).

Accavallo said her character, Little Red Riding Hood, “is more sassy than sweet” and has “some attitude.”

“She will throw a tantrum during the show,” said the daughter of Joe and Amanda, whose character has her cape stolen from the baker (senior Trent McCallister). “She needs it for security and her granny made it for her.”

The energetic young actress wanted to scream during her tantrum, but she got turned down. 

“It’s more of a whimper,” Accavallo said. “I was really nervous about it at first, but then I got the hang of it.”

Little Red Riding Hood’s beloved cape is one of the ingredients that the baker has to obtain for a potion after he and his wife are cursed by the witch (senior Alexandria Velez). McCallister said the baker’s father “made the mistake of stealing from her” years ago, so the witch “sterilized me.”

McCallister, the son of Terry McCallister and Mary McCallister, played the Beast in last year’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast.” The senior said both characters “fundamentally feed off emotion” while the baker “isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.” 

Senior Caileigh Kropka plays the baker’s wife.

“I like bossing Trent around,” the daughter of Bill and Collette said with a laugh. “We were pretty close at the beginning (of rehearsals) and it grew from there.”

During the baker’s journey, he buys a cow from Jack, who has made the animal a pet. Fourth-grade student Mario Maple plays the front half of the cow, while fifth-grader Oliver Harrison handles the back half.

“We have to swallow all the ingredients, so the witch can return to all her former beauty,” said Harrison, the son of Ben and Sarah, who admitted that the experience gives the cow “severe indigestion.”

Friess, who plays Jack, elaborated on the potion.

“Then when we have the whole potion, we have to milk the cow. The milking of the cow is how you make the potion,” said the son of Zachary Friess and Jenny Coulter.

Another animal the “Into the Wood” characters encounter is the wolf, played by junior Carson Coey. Eric and Lisa’s son said he enjoys the part since he likes being “the charming guy” who gets people to do what he wants. 

Velez, the daughter of Anthony Velez and Tiffany Friess, plays the witch.

“She’s my fourth evil character. If there’s an evil part, I go for it,” the New London senior said.

To play the witch — or any villain, actually — Alexandria Velez does her best to add a personal component.

“She is really misunderstood. She still has love for her daughter Rapunzel,” she said.

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