The Secret in The Wings Wows Audiences

Ashley Winward

The buzz around Dodd’s Theatre this weekend was evident as the University of New Haven’s Theater Program opened its doors to perform its fall main stage play, The Secret In the Wings, by Mary Zimmerman. After a successful second stage performance last month, Death: A Play, by Woody Allen, audiences flooded in early to get the best seats for the big show.

Photo Provided by Joe Adams
Photo Provided by Joe Adams

The Secret in the Wings is a new take on some of the old Grimm’s Fairy Tales all weaved together into a whimsical tale that was not only dark, but funny at the same time.

The cast of actors and actresses changed roles throughout the seven short tales; The Secret in the Wings, Three Blind Queens, Stolen Pennies Interlude, The Princess Who Wouldn’t Laugh, The Three Snake Leaves, Allerleira, and The Seven Swans, all with such ease it was hard sometimes to tell when one story began and another ended. But that was what made the show so great; it put you in their world and took you on a journey of twists and turns so you had to pay attention.

It’s one thing to entertain a crowd, but to make them think as well, can make for a challenging show. This is one aspect of theater our performers prove time and time again, last year with Arcadia and this year with The Secret in the Wings.

“Throughout the course of our process in bringing Secret in the Wings to life, we (actors, directors, designers, technicians, dramaturgs) have contended with the play of theater-making choices offered to us by Zimmerman’s text,” Director Rachel Anderson- Rabern discusses in her directors note. “For example, the script contains many lyrics, but no musical score. Her stage direction ask for fantastical moments, but offer little concrete guidance or technical requirements.”

For some companies having so much freedom in the script can feel daunting, but the choices in musical direction, set, and props were so thoughtfully chosen it was if they were written into the script. My personal favorite was The Three Snake Leaves, which was performed in a Mumford and Sons-esque folk tune. The set was perfectly chosen as well, tucked into what looked like a library or home study, and suited the story telling environment.

As always the students of the cast truly brought the script’s vision to life, bringing smiles, laughs and even tears to the audience’s eyes. Senior David Janovsky sums up the experience in a few words, “This process has been one like no other. Coming to a world with so many roles…there is only one thing to do, enjoy it. There was so much growth and learning that I will never forget!”

I could go on and tell you how wonderful each and every performer was, but there simply aren’t enough pages in this paper to do so. All in all, each person brought energy and emotion that was palpable and crucial for the show to function. Congratulations to the entire cast, crew and direction team for such a wonderful weekend of theater.

Next semester the theater program will be putting on their musical, Spring Awakening, as well as another second stage play to be announced at a later date. For all audition information, as well as other updates, please see