Okay, so this isn’t a “movie” in the traditional sense of the word, but it is available on DVD on Amazon, so I decided that was close enough! And since I’m covering Monday’s post for Isabelle, I figured I’d have fun with it!
Into the Woods is, in fact, a musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which mishmashes as many fairy tales as they could fit into two and a half hours—and you’d be surprised how many that is! Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, the Baker and his Wife, Little Red Riding Hood and a couple others. The stories are interwoven just masterfully, and the performances by Bernadette Peters, Jackie Gleason and the rest are simply phenomenal. I saw this production first when PBS presented the recording on Great Performances, and I was just enchanted. Of course I’m a musical buff anyhow, so that had something to do with it, but I think even people less-inclined to watch a musical would enjoy this, because firstly we’re already familiar with the stories—it’s just seeing how they interplay and what happens next that’s the fantastic thing, and besides, it really is laugh-out-loud funny.
My favorite part has always been the two filandering princes. How great is it to think of all the fairy tales revolving around only two princes—who were never satisfied and thus were constantly chasing after new women. I wish I could find a video on youtube of Chuck Wagner and Robert Westenberg singing “Agony” about being “ten steps behind and ten feet below” Cinderella and Rapunzel, and then debating whether thickets or dwarfs (dwarves? dwarfs!) are more upsetting when trying to get to Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but sadly I can’t seem to find any of those particular bits, though a look on youtube will show you a bunch of high school productions’ versions.
I will leave you with a clip of The Wolf seducing Little Red Riding Hood away from the path her mother taught her to stay on. That’ll give you a taste at least of what you’re in for.
I’ve got a bit of hometown pride in Into the Woods, as the original, pre-Broadway production started in San Diego, with almost all of the broadway cast. I just love this musical, inside out. It’s funny, sweet, and breaks your heart a little bit. If you ever have a chance to see it live, do it, because it’s a blast, but if you want to check out la crème de la crème… the original broadway cast is it.
I give it an affectionate A+
Happy Labor Day everybody!