A Fairytale Ending Is Just the Beginning

Seniors Mary Posluch and Kelsey White began talking a year ago about producing a student-led musical to raise money for the College Choir’s tour this summer. In years past, choir students presented CC’s Café, a variety show of short scenes and Broadway numbers staged in Page Hall. The tradition ended when performances started losing money. In 2007 the students tried something new, a simple production of “Godspell,” with promising results.

Mary and Kelsey couldn’t wait to start planning the next event. “We actually decided on ‘Into the Woods’ on the bus during the choir tour last May,” Mary says. As soon as school began in August, they met with Professor Celeste Tavera to enlist the help of her musical theatre class. The three women worked tirelessly to make the play happen, and in February their efforts paid off.

More than 20 music and theatre students performed in Steven Sondheim’s whimsical play, “Into the Woods,” with a pit orchestra of 14 musicians. Cinderella, Jack and the beanstalk, and other fairytale characters interact in this twisted comedy of errors, facing unexpected consequences in place of “happily ever after.” Elaborate costumes and colorful Technicolor trees helped raise the production to an unprecedented level of professionalism. Staged in a high school auditorium downtown, the play drew students and music fans from the community, raising more than $5,000 in ticket sales.

Kelsey began working on musicals as a high school student in the Seattle area and continued at Covenant Bible College in Alberta, Canada, before transferring to Westmont as a junior. The music major participated in the production of “Godspell.”

Mary started as a first-year student in Westmont’s music program. Along with singing in choirs and taking private voice lessons, she plays the piano to accom-pany other voice students and works part time in the music office. In March she will appear as a vocal soloist in the chamber orchestra’s spring concert.

“Mary is fabulous,” Tavera says. “She worked so hard, really took this on and didn’t complain. She also played the wicked witch, and she has really grown in her vocal skills. Kelsey is very creative and artistic and came up with some good ideas for the set.”

Both students plan to take a year off from school before pursuing graduate programs in music. Their experience with “Into the Woods” has helped them develop important skills. “I’ve learned to work better with people who don’t work the same way I do,” Kelsey says. “We’ve had to be very efficient and creative.” “It’s been intense,” Mary agrees, “but it’s definitely been good for me. I discovered that I really enjoy directing!”

“Whatever they pursue, I know both of them are going to do wonderful things in life,” Talvera says.

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