The Last Curtain Call: “Into the Woods” Marks Final Mainstage Production for 2012 Senior Players

Late in the hours of March 24, as the cast members of “Into the Woods” took their bows during the curtain call of the closing show, Jamie Yarmoff ’12 felt an odd feeling she couldn’t shake. She knew the reason behind that feeling, though: as a senior graduating in a few months, she realized she was taking her final bow as a cast member of a Players mainstage production.

“It was strange and sad to know that would be my last time performing on that stage,” said Yarmoff, who said she had dreamed of being in Players since elementary school.

This melancholy feeling was reported by several other senior Players that night. Although the One-Act Play Festival and a few more minor productions are still in the lineup for the remainder of the school year, “Into the Woods” marked the final production this year’s seniors would perform in as Players in the main auditorium.

For some seniors, Players has been the ultimate focus over their four years of high school. But, as the story goes, almost like the plotline of a play, graduation inevitably comes, and students venture off into the world. However, the end of a Players tenure is truly marked after the final curtain call of each year’s mainstage spring production, when senior Players are called to center stage to receive a rose, honoring their time in the organization. For Players President Sofia Ribolla ’12, who played Cinderella in “Into the Woods,” this year’s rose ceremony was a surreal experience.

“The worst part was that during my final song, ‘No One is Alone,’ and all throughout the finale of the show, I was fighting the tears back,” Ribolla said. “I would say that ‘Into the Woods’ marked my complete journey as an actress on that stage, which was truly wonderful to experience.”

Sami Schwaeber ’12, who played Jack’s Mother in “Into the Woods,” reported mixed emotions at the rose ceremony.

“It was a mixture of sadness, because the journey had come to an end, but also of great pride and happiness, because of our success as a team,” Schwaeber said. “When you create amazing relationships like we did, it’s difficult to see the last bow.”

Stage performers were not the only ones honored at the rose ceremony; musicians and technical staff members were also given roses. For some of these seniors, they foresee their involvement in Players as a lifelong passion.

In fact, even as a child, Margi Goelz ’12 made note of one thing in particular when she saw Broadway shows with her family: the pit orchestra. She has long admired the role of a pit orchestra member, and is appreciative of the opportunity Players gave her to be part of one.

“I’m glad that Players has given me the opportunity to be a part of their shows as well as the experience of playing in a pit,” Goelz said.

Goelz, a cello player, has been part of three pit orchestras—“Into the Woods” this past spring, as well as the 2011 production of “West Side Story” and the 2009 production of “Guys and Dolls.” She feels that these experiences have boosted her cello-playing ability.

“Playing the musicals has helped my cello playing because the key signatures for musicals are really hard, so my reading has gotten much better,” Goelz said.

At the end of the day, while their times as high school Players might be over, most seniors said they, no doubt, will return for future productions. Ribolla, who has been in 11 Players productions, says not even her college schedule will stop her from seeing every show next year.

“Not only do I plan on coming home for at least one weekend of every show next year—how could I possibly miss them?—but I plan to keep in touch with all of the people from Players, to continually wish them good luck, and be there for them,” Ribolla said.

Yarmoff also looks forward to keeping in touch with Players in the future to stay updated about the process of each production.

“I have made many close friends who are younger than I am, so they’ll be sure to keep me up to date on cast lists and upcoming productions,” Yarmoff said. “I also hope to come back and say hi during rehearsals. Fingers crossed that my breaks overlap with at least one mainstage production!”

Goelz also anticipates returning to Staples to see future productions by Players, and Austin Alianello ’12, another graduating musician, even aspires to play in shows as a professional musician. Alianello, who has played both the alto and tenor saxophones, as well as the clarinet for Players productions since his freshman year, has long-admired the team aspect of the organization.

“There are so many people working hard, each with a job to do,” Alianello said. “It’s very rewarding to succeed in such a team-driven goal, and I believe we are building a lot of skills we’ll need in the workplace later in life.”

Indeed, Alianello’s work in the musical side of Players will show up later in his life—next year, Alianello will be studying at Wheaton College to become a certified music teacher. One of his lifelong dreams, though, has been to play an instrument on a movie soundtrack or for a Broadway show. As Alianello put it, “The music department at Staples has really inspired me to spread the love and knowledge of music.”

Though not yet a senior, Grace McDavid-Seidner ’13 professed that this year’s seniors truly made a impact on her. She noted that the Players class of 2012 were particularly welcoming and kind.

“This year’s seniors made it their goal to set good examples for everyone, and to make sure that everyone feels happy in the Players environment,” McDavid-Seidner said. “I really hope that the class of 2013 can do even half as good a job as the seniors of 2012 have done.”

For Yarmoff, who is currently in production for her 17th Players show—the One-Act Play Festival—it’s “terrifying” how quickly the past four years went by for her.

“Players is unlike any other local high school theatre organization. We put on professional productions at a high school venue, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of something so memorable,” Yarmoff said.

David Roth, the director of Staples Players, anticipates keeping in touch with seniors through Facebook, as well as seeing them when they visit in the future; in fact, he says it’s “one of the rites of passage” for a graduating Player to be allowed to call Roth by his first name, and to friend request him on Facebook.

However, Roth expressed his sentiment that the seniors of 2012 have been well-represented across the board as performers, musicians, and technical staff members, so their absence will truly be felt.

“They become like my kids, so it’s really tough to let them go,” Roth said. “Once a Player, always a Player.”