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"Into the Woods" opens today

WORTHINGTON -- When Cavan Krekelberg and Erica Berger were tiny tots, they were the best of friends. Krekelberg went to daycare at Berger's home, and, according to Berger, the two were "inseparable."...

WORTHINGTON -- When Cavan Krekelberg and Erica Berger were tiny tots, they were the best of friends. Krekelberg went to daycare at Berger's home, and, according to Berger, the two were "inseparable."

Berger said she dragged Krekelberg around and made him play "Wizard of Oz" with her for hours.

"I had the basket, Toto, the red shoes," Berger said.

"She didn't mess around," Krekelberg added.

Their many adventures as "The Wicked the Witch" and "the Square-co" turned into a love of theater for the two, who are now both seniors at Worthington High School, and led to the culmination of what Berger calls "the greatest thing that could happen." They have lead roles in "Into the Woods," this year's Worthington High School theater production.

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"To end our time in Worthington together is wonderful, to have leads together," Berger said. "We click really well together."

Krekelberg and Berger play the Baker and his wife in the cast of fairy-tale characters that makes up "Into the Woods."

When the Baker and his wife attempt to break a curse put on the Baker's family by an evil witch, they head into the woods to gather various magical items. While there, they meet characters such as Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, all trying to live happily ever after.

"It's a really complicated production," said co-director Kathy Briggs, "just in the amount of music. The pianist doesn't get much of a break in the show."

Co-director Kris Besel was in charge of costuming and enlisted the help of the creative sewing class to work on the extravagant costumes.

"Local seamstresses in the area always help out, also," Briggs said.

This is the third school production Berger has been involved with, and she knows she will miss it. But she was recently accepted as a music major at St. Olaf College, where her primary instrument will be her voice.

"I hope to be involved in the theater department there," she said.

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In the meantime, Berger is having plenty of fun on the set of "Into the Woods."

"I get to attack Cinderella and pull out Rapunzel's hair," she said with a laugh. "I'm kind of brutal."

Krekelberg, who said he doesn't remember much from the "Wizard of Oz" days with Berger, is also enjoying himself, especially watching the antics of the two princes, played by senior Derek Ahlberg and junior Branden Roth.

"They have two hilarious songs," Krekelberg said. "They are royal pains in the butt."

As for the most difficult part of the play, Krekelberg said he does a song with Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame) that is "really fast and really hard."

"But all the girls are awed by Cavan's song, 'No More,'" Berger chimed in. "It is beautiful."

Little Red Riding Hood is played by first-timer Christy Rattanasitthi, a junior, who said the production has been a challenge. Dressed in a old-fashioned little girl outfit with the signature red cape, she said the reaction of others to the outfit is one thing that makes her grimace.

"I get the 'Christy, you're so cute' from everyone," she laughed. "In my little girl outfit, I'm cute and loud."

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Rattanasitthi likes the way the lead parts of the play are split between so many cast members.

"Nobody has too big of a part," she added.

Derek Hellstrom, a senior who has been in productions since he was a freshman, landed the role he wanted -- of Jack.

"It seemed to be a fun part with lots of comic relief," he said. "The hardest part about being Jack is acting ignorant and ditsy."

All of the cast members are looking forward to the first performance, which will take place at 12:25 p.m. today at Memorial Auditorium. The matinee performance will give some of the middle school students a chance to catch the show.

The evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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