NEW LONDON, Wis. (WFRV) – New London High School has wrapped up its fall theatre season with Into The Woods, and cast members say it was great feeling the stage lights back on their faces.

Students were able to perform the tale of classic storybook characters interacting with each other – acting out the ending that doesn’t quite follow any of the original plots for the well-known roles. Audiences met prominent characters, like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, and got a deeper look at what happens when you are faced with the consequences of an action.

Left: Alaena Wolf. Middle: Bailey Polsin.
Right: Ava Bellis.

Local 5 was able to interview cast members who play the Witch, Baker’s Wife, and Jack’s Mom before they took to the stage for their last performance Sunday evening.

Excitement was in the air and Alaena Wolf, who played the Baker’s Wife, says her favorite part about this season had to do with spending time with others. “I personally never worked with a cast that has been this fun and tight-knit together. We’ve just come so far and everybody has so much talent and it also varies and is different – and it’s really amazing to see how much voices have grown,” added Wolf. “It’s been a blast.”

“Also, bonding with the cast makes it better to perform. It’s honestly easier,” explained Ava Bellis, who played the Witch. “I feel like we get into the characters better. It’s just great.”

As for their favorite memory? Bailey Polsin, who played Jack’s Mom, explains the Directors are the first thing that comes to mind. “They have made this experience amazing for us. They really tied us all together and have really bonded us this year – compared to last year because of COVID and everything.”

“There’s literally no words to express enough gratitude for how much our Directors have done,” Wolf agreed. “I know I’ve worked personally with our Choral Director for the past four months and he’s spent so much time dedicated to us. And every time we go in there we work really hard, but then we also have a lot of laughs.”

And it wouldn’t be theater without a few challenges. Wolf explains overcoming the fear of singing the music for Into the Woods was a feat. “I’ve never had a big role, before, like this. And it was a really great opportunity for me to grow my singing and confidence.”

Bellis adds her own take on this year’s challenges, explaining her role was one of them. “Being the Witch was definitely a challenge for me, a little out of my comfort zone, but I was happy I could take the challenge and really make the most out of the part.”

For some cast members, this is their last year to be in a High School show. Even with the possibility of a bitter-sweet performance, Polsin, a senior, says she was going to audition no matter what. “[Us three] have been in [theater] since seventh grade. And this is literally my passion. I love to do theater. There’s nothing I can say about going on stage and getting those stage lights on your face – It’s literally the best experience ever.”

Into the Woods is a really fun musical and we were really excited that this was the one we were auditioning for ’cause it’s got so much – all the different characters you can audition for,” explained Wolf.

New London High School hosted the in-person performances Nov. 5-6 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. at the school on Klatt Road. Seating was not socially distanced, but masks were optional.

Even though the performances of Into the Woods ended Sunday, there are still opportunities for students to learn about theater – thanks to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (PAC).

Both Wolf and Polsin are part of the PAC’s Center Stage program this year, a program Local 5 is helping cover. They say it’s been amazing participating thus far.

“This year, for our first meeting, it was totally – completely new for me,” added Polsin, who participated in the program virtually last year. “We got a whole tour of the entire PAC and it’s the coolest thing.”

“We walked on [the PAC’s] stage. It was the best feeling ever,” added Wolf, who is participating for her first time this year.

“I’ve very excited to be part of this program again because it really introduces you to a lot of the musical theater world. And it shows the logistics behind it – everything that goes into a production, pretty much,” continued Polsin.

If you are interested in learning more about Center Stage and which schools are participating this season, click here. For more information on the Fox Cities PAC, click here.