‘The Wolves’ cast members on how they stay in shape for physically demanding play

After performances of “The Wolves,” Sarah DeLappe’s debut play up now at Lincoln Center, you can often find the cast sitting on massage balls, foam rolling, icing or simply napping.

Throughout the hour-and-a-half show, performed with no intermission, the all-female cast — portraying nine teammates on a girls’ high school soccer team — does warmup drills like high knees and butt kicks, as well as stretching.

And like soccer practice, it’s physically demanding.

“I would say this is athletically the most demanding show that I’ve done,” said Paola Sanchez Abreu, who plays the captain (known just by her number, 25).

Focus on recovery

Recovery has become a key component for the cast.

“We just rest and really take care of ourselves, and everyone has a different thing that we do,” said Abreu, who is a fan of TriggerPoint massage balls to work out her hamstrings, as well as Tiger Balm. “It smells like a grandma’s bathroom constantly in our dressing room. At least my grandma’s bathroom.”

Lizzy Jutila, who plays the goalie (#00), likes golf balls. “They’re really good for the feet,” she said. She also takes magnesium salt baths after shows. “I swear by magnesium.”

Jutila also regularly drinks bone broth, picking it up at Springbone Kitchen in Greenwich Village or making her own with Dr. Axe’s powders.

“I’m a huge advocate for bone broth because it’s so good for your joints and inflammation,” she said.

Therapy services

Through the theater, the cast is able to take advantage of weekly physical therapy and acupuncture sessions as needed.

“We might do simple high knees and butt kicks every night in the show, but those repetitive movements can really affect your body,” Jutila said.

For PT, the cast goes to Sean Gallaher and Amanda Ting of Performing Arts Physical Therapy. Most sessions involve massage, and they might get sent home with tools, like TheraBands to use on their ankles.

For acupuncture, they go to Tripp Hanson, who works with a lot of theater performers.

Staying in shape

Beyond recovery and therapy, the actresses work out several times a week to stay fit and prevent injury. Jutila and Abreu do indoor cycling classes together at Peloton, taking advantage of free walk-in sessions.

Additionally, Jutila does mixed martial arts at Red Planet Muay Thai (“I’m going there because of a Groupon deal”) and is in Modo Yoga’s Energy Exchange Program, working at the studio a few hours a week to get free classes.

Abreu is a fan of Orangetheory Fitness (“I bleed orange”) and works there as a sales associate. She also takes movement classes at the Feldenkrais Institute and Bartenieff Fundamentals at the Babies Project, the latter for free as part of a work exchange.

Abreu plans to return to pickup soccer games at McCarren Park once the run ends in January. She’s taking a break to avoid injury, and tailors her gym workouts to do the same.

“We’re stretching so much in the show. We have to be careful how deep we go,” she said. “The strength training I’m doing is so that I can feel safe going into these stretches and having it be realistic, and not pull anything.”


“The Wolves” runs now through Jan. 7 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center | tickets $92 | 150 W. 65th St., 212-239-6200, lct.org

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