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MS Performs Full Version of "Into The Woods"

St. Andrew’s Middle Schoolers took on the full version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into The Woods” this month under the guidance of teachers Jason Kruger and Annie Blancken. Thinking of the musical challenges, Annie remarks, “The students had to work very closely with me to learn the complicated rhythmic and lyrical passages in this musical. It is truly amazing that they were able to perform it! Most middle schools do a junior version, which excludes the second act. We chose to do the full version, which was a huge risk. The students rose to the challenge beautifully!” See the "Into The Woods" photo gallery here (courtesy Peggy Keelan).
With so much to remember, students get nervous on opening night, but to help them, Annie says: “We do a lot of exercises to help with nerves such as visualization, breathing, focus exercises, and if necessary, we talk with the kids one on one. They all handle their nerves so well, and once they get started, momentum helps them to keep going!”

Hearing the same songs in rehearsal may sound like too much, but for Annie, “The ending "Children Will Listen" is such a moving part of the story. The entire cast sang along with the soloists, and every time they performed it, it made me cry!”

Bella Castro - The Witch
“I loved making new friends that I don't normally talk to at school. Now, I feel so much closer to them. I learned that everyone has special and different talents, and musical theatre is a quick and easy outlet to help different people to learn how to shine. I want to say thank you to Mr. Kruger who really helped me grow as an actress, Ms. Blancken for being a loving and nurturing teacher that was an incredible musical director, and my parents for supporting me throughout the amazing production. I really love acting and singing!”

Laney Goodrum - Little Red Riding Hood
“Something I love about being in musical theatre is the opportunities you have to grow as a person while working hard. I think the relationships you build during tech week are some of the greatest bonds, sometimes working on connecting with other characters can create an opportunity for us to come together around a common goal. Also, I love the chance we have to stand up and tell the story to audiences, specifically the young ones. It feels really moving when a first-grader comes up to you and asks you if you're Little Red Riding Hood and that you've taught her a lot. Something I learned as a part of this production was the importance of honesty and using your words for good. As the Witch says, "Children will listen", which means we have to watch the way we act around people who look to us for "which way to turn, to learn what to be". We have to show them what it means to be kind, courageous, and wise. On a more technical level, Red definitely taught me how to eat sticky buns while singing! This production was a lot of hard work, and I want to say thank you to our amazing directors, the great cast/crew, and our parents. They work so hard to make this happen every year, and we couldn't do it without them.”

Oliver Mann - Prince Charming
“The feeling of family with the cast is really cool, I met and became pretty good friends with people I never thought I would talk to. I had never done musical theatre before and I learned a lot about diction. This production was a lot of hard work, and I want to say 'thank you' to my directors Annie Blancken and Jason Kruger, our costume designer Celia Kilgore, our choreographer Ms. Davison, my voice coach Audrey Jane Baldwin, and to honor Divy Nelson, my former teacher who was Audrey's aunt.”

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  • Lower & Middle School

    1112 West 31st St.
    Austin, TX 78705
    Lower (512) 299-9800
    Middle (512) 299-9850
  • Upper School

    5901 Southwest Pkwy.
    Austin, TX 78735
    (512) 299-9700

Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.