Juneau-Douglas High School English teacher Michaela Moore directed or co-directed dozens of musicals, one-act and three-act plays in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area, but she never found the right opportunity to take on the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods."
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Now she's the new spring musical director at JDHS, and her first play is Sondheim's complex ensemble-cast Tony Award winner.
Know and go
What: "Into the Woods," a Juneau-Douglas High School drama production.
When: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 23-24 and March 2-3.
Where: JDHS auditorium.
Tickets: $6 for students and seniors, $8 for adults in advance. Available at Hearthside Books or the JDHS activities office. Additional $2 at the door.
"These kids up here are musically amazing," Moore said. "And that's one reason why we didn't do 'Into The Woods' down south. I don't think we had enough kids that were strong enough to pull it off. It takes a lot of stamina to do a show where you're constantly singing."
"Into the Woods" opens at 7 p.m. today at JDHS. The 1987 play imagines a handful of fairy tale characters - Jack of "Jack in the Beanstalk," Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel - and what happens after their well-known stories unfold.
"It doesn't matter what culture you're from or what background you're from. You've heard of these fairy tales," Moore said.
Moore's husband, JDHS choir teacher Richard Moore, is directing the choral arrangements and has helped with the set.
"We both really like this play," Michaela Moore said. "We have for many years, and we thought it was really special to pick this one.
The Moores moved to Juneau in the summer of 2005. They were both teachers in Texas, but worked at different schools.
"I would help with plays where I was, and he would help with plays where he was," Moore said. "I introduced him to Alaska, hoping he'd want to move here."
The Moores designed the set. Jay Menze, a Juneau resident with the U.S. Coast Guard, served as the head carpenter. For one scene, he created giant books with pages that turn.
"I had no idea how to build that, but he did," Moore said. "We wanted to make a tower for Rapunzel, and he knew how. He's done an amazing job with taking our ideas and making them happen."
Korry Keeker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.