I had the great pleasure of going to see the preview showing of Trinity University Theatre Department’s fall musical production of “Into the Woods.” To put it simply, I was blown away.

From its magical set and awesome direction to the incredible individual performances, it could be one of Trinity’s best shows and is by far the best I’ve seen at the school. I wasn’t alone in this flowing of praise for the musical.

“I loved it,” said Jess Jennings, a sophomore urban studies major. “Every time Kerry Madden was on, it was even more wonderful.” Madden, a junior, played the mean and humorous Stepmother. She really did an excellent job.

The show had many highlights. I could fill a whole newspaper with specific and overdrawn praise, but there are a few key aspects that deserve that highest of praise.

First of all, the set design and execution was perfect. The show itself requires a revolving set, which added an otherworldly characteristic to each scene. While the characters sang, danced and roamed through the woods, the set itself moved, taking the characters to new areas and shifting the dynamic of the scene.

The designers did a great job of making a minimalist set design, prompting viewers to imagine the wood planks as gnarled, black trees and the moving centerpiece as either a foreboding tower, albeit with a distinct lack of doors, or a tightly knit grove.

By keeping the set simple, the actors were given freedom to roam around and also pushed them to make the scene through their acting; to embody the mood for the audience. Believe me when I say the actors did a stunning job in capturing the mood of the musical and mesmerizing the viewer with humor, music and movement. Every single person who was in the cast really did an amazing job, though a certain few stood out from the rest and delivered some tear-jerking performances.

Jackson Beach, junior, played both the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince. Each time he took the stage, he filled it with energy and passion. While the Wolf’s character is only on for one song and part of a scene, the way Beach truly dedicated each of his movements and cues to embodying the Wolf was impressive and hilarious. To top that off, his performance of Cinderella’s Prince was also fantastic. From his run to the duet with his brother, no moment with Beach on the stage was dull. His dedication to the roles and his obvious talent made for a performance I hope others will appreciate, too.

Another actor who blew me away was Nico Champion, junior, who played the Baker, a very integral role that requires an incredible voice and an ability to adapt to each scene. He performed the role with ease and panache. His duet with the Mysterious Man was somber and beautiful, and the dynamic he was able to achieve with each of the other characters was a joy to watch.

But the standout performance was the Baker’s wife, played by sophomore Alex Oliver. She claimed to not have a good voice, but her solos and duets shone above the rest. Her ability to play off of others, to be the star of the scene and have the skill to share it, was really something else. She carried herself like a true professional in every scene. I could continue to complement, but the only way to truly appreciate her performance is to go and watch her do it.

The cast of “Into the Woods” did an outstanding job. They tackled a difficult musical, pushed through the grueling rehearsal hours and created an enjoyable production that everyone should see. There will be performances from Nov. 15–18 at the Stieren Theater at 8 p.m.

Projects and papers galore keep us all busy at this time of year, but nothing ends a week better than having some talented actors transport you to a world filled with music, love and magic instead of deadlines, stress and school.