Go Into the Woods with This Sondheim Musical
Into the Woods is a Tony Award-winning musical with music and lyrics from Stephen Sondheim and written and directed by James Lapine.
Sondheim’s elaborate musical score is the background for the story that intertwines the original Grimm fairy tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Magic Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel as we follow these characters in search of their wishes.
What they discover in the woods is an important life lesson—the consequences of those wishes—and perhaps that they might have been better off not wishing them in the first place.
Take a trip with me into the woods and discover this unique musical.
Image from Into the Woods Cover, music available to download on Amazon.
Discovering Into the Woods
We discovered Into the Woods, when it was presented as one of the play options for my daughters childrens’ theater group to perform for the summer.
I knew the story involved darker fairy tales, so looked at the plot summary on Wikipedia before letting my daughters watch the DVD of the American Playhouse production. One thing that was clear is that the stories were based on the original Brothers Grimm tales with more more blood, mayhem, deception, killings and scary creatures.
After becoming familiar with the musical my daughters discovered reading the Once Upon a Time Book that some of the text from the Into the Woods play has been taken directly from the original Brothers Grimm Tales.
Some of the things she discovered were Cinderella’s stepsisters getting their toe and heel cut off to fit into the shoe, Rapunzel’s Prince gets blinded falling from her tower and Little Red Ridinghood and Granny getting swallowed by the wolf and then cut out by the huntsman.
I got them the Once Upon a Time book because we are also fans of the ABC show Once Upon a Time show, a television show based on the Brothers Grimm tales.
Into the Woods Jr. Book
Into the Woods – Darker Tales
The Broadway musical uses several of the Brothers Grimm’s real fairy tales, the tales that are much more graphic, violent and often gruesome than the Disney version’s we’ve grown up with and intersperses these stories with a new story about a Baker and his Wife and what they go through to start a family.
The Amazon review for the American Playhouse DVD version describes Into the Woods as:
Fractured fairy tales of a darker hue provide the remarkable context for Into the Woods, which deconstructs the Brothers Grimm by way of Rod Serling.
Another reviewer wrote this about the Into the Woods soundtrack, “It is a marvelous deconstruction of fairy tales and how the wishing and the getting is what really important, not obtaining it.”
In these fractured fairy tales, Sondheim and Lupine weave many cleaver story twists, metaphors and meanings into this grown-up fairy tale that will leave you thinking about the importance of the journey, living in the moment and what goes into living happily ever after.
NOTE: Parents may want to familiarize themselves with the story plot, twists, death, deception, adultry and mayhem before deciding to let their children watch the play.
Disney Goes Into the Woods
Disney is aiming for a Christmas Day premiere of its version of the Tony Award Winning Musical. Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep were the first two actors confirmed for this new version of Sondheim’s play.
Depp is set to play the Wolf with an unknown Little Red Riding Hood and Streep, the Witch who is involved in stirring up a lot of mischief for the Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) and also plays a major role with Rapunzel (unknown). Tracey Ullman is in talks to play Jack and the Beanstalks Mother (she should be great!) and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack.
Other actors linked to this new version include Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Pine as the two handsome princes for Rapunzel and Cinderella (Anna Kendrick). Christine Baranski plays Cinderella’s step mother.
It is going to be very interesting to follow the making of this film and then see Disney’s take on the real Grimm Brother fairy tales, rather than the cleaner versions we’ve seen for years.
Cast for Into the Woods
These are the people, so far, who have been linked to the Disney version of Into the Woods:
1. The Baker – James Corden
2. The Baker’s Wife – Emily Blunt
3. Jack in the Beanstalk – Daniel Huttlestone
4. Jack’s Mother – Tracey Ullman
5. Cinderella – Anna Kendrick
6. Cindrella’s Step Mother – Christine Baranski
7. The Princes – Chris Pine (Cinderella’s) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Rapunzel’s)
8. The Wolf – Johnny Depp
9. The Witch – Meryl Streep
More on the Disney Version of Into the Woods
Articles about the latest revival of Into the Woods for Disney, as we discover the different cast members.
Johnny Depp in Into The Woods: A Dream Come True, But He Worries About His Singing | E! Online
Johnny Depp can’t wait to play The Wolf in the movie adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony award winning musical Into the Woods.
Anna Kendrick & ‘Into The Woods’: Actress In Talks For Cinderella Role
Let’s hope the glass slipper fits — Anna Kendrick may be taking on the role of Cinderella. The 27-year-old actress is reportedly in talks to join the upcoming adaptation of “Into the Woods,” led by director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”).
“Into the Woods” Film Eyes “Les Miserables” Star to Play Jack – Playbill.com
Young actor Daniel Huttlestone, who starred as Gavroche in Tom Hooper’s film of “Les Misérables,” is in talks to join the cast of the “Into the Woods” film, Deadline.com reports.
Tracey Ullman in Talks to Join Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’ (Exclusive)
Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Chris Pine are among those playing classic fairy tale characters in the adaptation of the Broadway musical.
Disney’s Starry Into the Woods Film Sets Christmas 2014 Release – Playbill.com
The film adaptation of Into the Woods, the dark, Tony Award-winning fairytale musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, will be released in theatres Dec. 25, 2014, Walt Disney Pictures announced June 13.
Disney Release Dates: ‘Into the Woods’
Disney has announced release schedule updates, which includes a date for the ‘Into the Woods’ musical movie and a new title for ‘The Muppets’ sequel.
Into the Woods Synopsis
Available from Amazon Into the Woods musical intertwines the original Grimm fairy tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Magic Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood and Rapunzel with the story of a Baker and his wife who want a child.
Through the 3 hour + musical we follow Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack, Rapunzel and several Princes along with the Baker and his Wife on the paths that they take searching for their Happily Ever After. What they all discover, venturing into the woods, is that life may not always go the way we wished for or turn out to be quite so happy.
The first act is more lighthearted and focuses on the wishes made by Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and the Baker and his Wife as they all venture into the woods in search of their wishes.
Much of the first act is spent watching the Baker and his Wife go in search of “the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold” to make a magic potion that will help them have a child. The first act ends after everyone’s wishes have come true. This is the act that is adapted into the Into the Woods Jr. version for Childrens’ Theaters.
The second act soon becomes darker and much more somber. Some recommendations are that the second act may be too heavy for younger children (under six). In this act we take a look at what happens to our original characters now that they are living their “happily ever after.” Cinderella, Jack and the Baker and his Wife are still wishing and enter into the woods again in search of what they are missing. The second act includes more mayhem, treachery, adultery and several deaths, but it also features many of the show stopping musical songs including “No More,” “No One Is Alone,” and “Children Will Listen.”
My daughters were more disturbed by the Princes wishing for new Princesses (after they’d already gotten their first ones) than the deaths and mayhem, but the Princes’ wandering eyes became a good teachable lesson about the boys and men they may date in the future.
Into the Woods – Video Clip
This clip from the 1988 Tony Awards features Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Phylicia Rashad with the rest of the original cast of the Broadway production.
Music from Into the Woods
The song most recognized from Into the Woods is probably “Children Will Listen” which was made popular by Bernadette Peters. The song has also been recorded by Betty Buckley, Barbara Streisand and Mandy Patinkin.
Other recognizable songs from the play are “Last Midnight,” “No One Is Alone,” and “No More.”
There are several different versions of the music from Into the Wood available for listening. The original Broadway Cast that features Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason was the one that we listened to first after watching the DVD.
There is also the London Cast version from 1991 and the Broadway revival of 2002 that featured Vanessa Williams as the witch.
Once we heard that my daughters’ theater group would be doing Into the Woods as a summer production we started listening to the music. Initially listening to the rather complicated arrangements of different voices singing over each other at the same time was a bit challenging, but it wasn’t too long before my daughters’ both had the music down and were singing right along. The music gets stuck in your head.
Into the Woods London Cast Soundtrack available on Amazon.
Into the Woods Musical Numbers
- 1. Into the Woods (Prologue)
- 2. Cinderella at the Grave
- 3. Hello, Little Girl
- 4.I Guess This Is Goodbye / Maybe They’re Magic
- 5. I Know Things Now
- 6 A Very Nice Prince / First Midnight / Giants in the Sky
- 7. Agony
- 8. It Takes Two
- 9. Stay With Me
- 10. On the Steps of the Palace
- 11. Ever After
- 12. Act II Prologue: So Happy
- 13. Agony (Reprise)
- 14. Lament
- 15. Any Moment / Moments in the Woods
- 16. Your Fault / Last Midnight
- 17. No More
- 18. No One Is Alone