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RHS will take audiences into the woods

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high school Rosemount, 55024
Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Stepping into the director's chair for Rosemount High School's fall musical has been a comfortable transition for Christina Morris.

This will be Morris' first time directing a play at RHS, but the dance teacher has had plenty of experience guiding students as they prepare to take to the school's stage. She has directed the school's annual dance performance and shows by the RHS Modern Company. She has also served as choreographer and helped with character development in some of the school's other shows.

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This year, she said, she wanted to try something different.

"I've always wanted to kind of explore more of the theatrical side, whether it be trying to direct the whole thing, have it be more my vision," Morris said.

The show Morris will bring to life is Into the Woods, a Stephen Sondheim classic that uses the story of a baker and his wife to tie together a number of Grimm's Fairy Tales. The first half of the show is upbeat as the characters find their own happily ever afters, but the second half turns a little darker as the characters discover happy endings aren't always easy to find -- or all that happy.

"They don't realize that all the deals they made have consequences," Morris said. "The second half goes through all the consequences of wanting everything in life.

"I don't think it's that dark. I think it just makes you think."

Morris chose the show because it has a number of distinct characters, rather than a few leads and chorus.

"Everyone is actually a character that's needed in the storyline," Morris said. "I really enjoyed that. I felt we could really work with the students to develop their strengths."

She also likes the fact the show has a number of good roles for girls. That's a nice change, she said, after a couple of years in which the school's musicals were male-centered shows like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Guys and Dolls.

One week before the show is scheduled to take the stage, Morris is happy with the way things have gone. The actors moved their rehearsals to the stage Monday, and an ambitious set is coming together. Morris expects some challenges as the 19 actors, 14-student pit orchestra and 30-student design and lighting crew put everything together, but that's typical for a show like this. Every time you ad an element, there is an adjustment period. Morris is used to it, though, and so are most of the students involved.

"In some ways I feel like we're ahead of where we've been in the past, so I feel we can really dig deep into the characters," Morris said.

Into the Woods will be on stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 9-11 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 at the PAC. Tickets are available by calling 651-683-6969, ext. 37540 or online at district196.org/rhs

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