When the curtain opens on Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” at Clarkstown South High School this week, it will reveal a cast of triple threats: singers, dancers and actors trained by director-choreographer Justin Boccitto to tackle a tricky musical.
In that crowd going “into the woods” will be senior Samantha Weisberg, who adds Cinderella to a considerable acting resumé, one that includes work at South, Nyack’s Stage Left Children’s Theater, Helen Hayes Youth Theater and the famed Stage Door Manor in the Catskills, which counts among its alumni Zach Braff (“Scrubs”) and Lea Michele (“Glee”).
The last few summers, she has been a production assistant at Helen Hayes, and a counselor, helping pint-sized actors to overcome stage fright, as part of producer Danielle Rudess’ team.
“Theater is my passion,” Weisberg says. “Unfortunately, I know I have to do it for the rest of my life.”
Weisberg says Sondheim’s Cinderella is nothing like Disney’s.
“She’s a spitfire, that one. She has a lot of spunk and you see her change dramatically. In the beginning, she’s treated like a child by the stepfamily and her drunk dad and she has so many issues. At the end, you see her become a motherly figure to Jack and Little Red and putting herself out there. She grows up in front of your eyes.”
The challenge, she says, is knowing where Cinderella’s going without tipping her hand to the audience.
“You have to make your way there, step by step,” says the actress, who is, at 18, already well down the path to a life in the theater.
“Into the Woods,” 8 p.m. April 20; 2 and 8 p.m. April 21; 2 p.m. April 22; 845-624-3447.
Photo by Peter D. Kramer/The Journal News: Samantha Weisberg, backstage at Clarkstown South High School during rehearsals for “Into the Woods.”
Video: Watch Samantha and fellow cast members reciting lines from the musical here.