Into the Woods
|Into the Woods|
Poster for the original Broadway production
|Basis||Inspired by Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment|
1988 United States National Tour
1990 West End
1998 West End revival
2002 Broadway revival
2010 London revival
2012 Shakespeare in the Park Production
2014 Oregon Shakespeare Festival
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Score
Tony Award for Best Book
Drama Desk for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Revival
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival
Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986, and premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1987. Bernadette Peters's performance as the Witch and Joanna Gleason's portrayal of the Baker's Wife brought acclaim to the production during its original Broadway run. Into the Woods won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason), in a year dominated by The Phantom of the Opera.
The musical has been produced many times, with a 1988 US national tour, a 1990 West End production, a 1991 television production, a 1997 tenth anniversary concert, a 2002 Broadway revival, a 2010 London revival and in 2012 as part of New York City's outdoor Shakespeare in the Park series. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Rapunzel", and "Cinderella", as well as several others. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a Witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Productions
- 3 Adaptations
- 4 Casting history
- 5 Musical numbers
- 6 Analysis of book and music
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
With the words "Once Upon a Time," the Narrator introduces four characters who each have a wish: Cinderella wishes to attend the King's festival; Jack, a simple young man who wishes that his cow Milky White would give milk; and The Baker and his Wife, who wish they could have a child.
While Little Red Riding Hood buys bread from the Baker to take to her grandmother's house, Jack's weary mother nags him into selling the cow, and Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda tease her about wanting to attend the King's festival.
The Baker's neighbor, an ugly old witch, reveals the source of the couple's infertility is a curse she placed on the Baker's line after catching the Baker's father in her garden stealing "magic" beans. In addition to the curse, the Witch took the Baker's father's newborn child Rapunzel. She explains the curse will be lifted if the Baker and his Wife can find the four ingredients that the Witch needs for a certain potion — "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," all before the chime of Midnight in three days' time. All begin their journeys into the woods — Jack goes to the market to sell his beloved pet Milky White, Cinderella's family goes to the Festival while Cinderella goes to her mother's grave to ask for guidance, Little Red to her Grandmother's house, and the Baker, refusing his wife's help, to find the ingredients ("Prologue").
Cinderella visits her mother's grave and receives a beautiful gown and golden slippers from her mother's spirit ("Cinderella at the Grave"). Jack encounters a Mysterious Man who mocks him for trying to sell his cow for more than a "sack of beans" and then vanishes. Little Red Ridinghood meets a hungry Wolf who convinces her to take a detour on her way to Granny's, already having consumed the old woman ("Hello, Little Girl"). The Baker sees Little Red in the woods and when the Witch appears, screaming at him to get the red cape, she frightens him so much he forgets the ingredients he needs. Luckily his wife, who followed him into the forest, reminds him. They are squabbling over her presence when they come across Jack with Milky White. Not having the money necessary to buy the cow, they convince Jack that the beans the Baker has found in his father's old hunting jacket are "magic," and buy the cow for five of them. Jack bids a tearful goodbye to his cow ("I Guess This Is Goodbye"), and the Baker orders his Wife to return to the village with the cow. He has qualms about being so dishonest, but his wife reasons that the chance to have a child justifies their trickery ("Maybe They're Magic".)
Meanwhile, it is revealed that the Witch has raised Rapunzel as her own daughter, keeping her locked away from the world in a tall tower in the middle of the woods, accessible only by climbing Rapunzel's long, golden hair ("Our Little World"). However, a handsome Prince spies the beautiful Rapunzel, and resolves to climb the tower himself. In another part of the wood, the Baker has tracked down Little Red Ridinghood. Following the Witch's advice, he attempts to simply steal the red cape, but her ensuing temper tantrum guilts him into returning it. When Little Red Ridinghood arrives at her grandmother's house, she is swallowed by the Wolf. The Baker, in pursuit of the cape, slays the Wolf, pulling Little Red and her grandmother from the beast's innards. Little Red rewards him with the red cape, reflecting on her new experiences ("I Know Things Now"). Meanwhile, Jack's mother angrily tosses the beans aside and sends her son to bed without supper. As Cinderella flees the Festival, pursued by another handsome prince and his steward, the Wife helps her hide and quizzes Cinderella about the ball. Cinderella explains that it was a nice ball with "A Very Nice Prince," but seems fairly ambivalent about the experience. As a giant beanstalk begins to sprout from the ground next to Jack's cottage, the Baker's Wife spots Cinderella's pure gold slippers. She tries to chase after Cinderella, inadvertently allowing Milky White to run off, leaving the Baker's Wife without the slippers and the cow. The characters each state morals and credos as the First Midnight chimes ("First Midnight") and they continue their journeys through the woods.
The next morning, Jack describes his thrilling adventure after he returns from climbing the beanstalk ("Giants in the Sky"). He gives the Baker five gold pieces he stole from the giants to buy back his cow. When the Baker hesitates, Jack climbs back up the beanstalk to find more. The Mysterious Man emerges and taunts the Baker, stealing the money. The Baker's Wife confesses she has lost the cow, and she and the Baker split up to look for it. Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince, who are brothers, meet and compare the misery of their new-found and unobtainable loves ("Agony"). The Baker's Wife, who is eavesdropping, takes note when Rapunzel's prince mentions that he is in love with a girl in a tower with hair as "yellow as corn." The Baker's Wife fools Rapunzel into letting down her hair and pulls out a piece of it. Meanwhile, The Mysterious Man gives Milky-White back to the Baker.
The Baker's Wife and Cinderella meet again, and the Baker's Wife makes a desperate grab for her shoes, almost succeeding before Cinderella flees. The Baker and his wife reunite, now with three of the four items. The Baker admits that they've had to work together to fulfill the quest ("It Takes Two"). Jack arrives with a hen that lays golden eggs and attempts to buy Milky White back, but the cow suddenly keels over dead as midnight chimes. Again, the characters exchange morals ("Second Midnight"). The Witch discovers that the Prince has been visiting Rapunzel and begs Rapunzel to stay with her ("Stay with Me"). When Rapunzel refuses, the Witch angrily cuts off Rapunzel's hair and banishes her to a desert. The Mysterious Man gives the Baker the money to buy another cow. Jack encounters y Little Red Ridinghood, who is now sporting a wolf skin cape and a knife for protection, and tries to impress her by telling her about the kingdom of the Giant. When she refuses to believe him, he is goaded into returning once again to the Giant's home to steal a magic harp.
Cinderella, returning from the last night of the festival, describes how the Prince had spread pitch on the stairs to prevent her from escaping. Caught between wanting to escape and wanting to stay, she eventually resolves to let the Prince decide, leaving him one of her slippers as a clue to her identity ("On the Steps of the Palace"). The Baker's Wife frantically tries to convince her to give up her other shoe, offering her the last magic bean in exchange for it. Cinderella throws the bean aside, but trades shoes with the Baker's Wife and flees. The Baker arrives with another cow; they now have all four items. The Prince's Stewart grabs the slipper from the Baker's Wife, and they are fighting over it when a great crash is heard and Jack's mother runs in to report that a Giant has fallen from the beanstalk and is dead in her backyard. The Prince, more concerned with finding Cinderella, waves her off, and departs with one of the slippers, giving the other to the Baker and his wife. Jack, to the relief of his mother, returns with the magic harp. The Witch discovers that the new cow is not pure white — it is covered with flour. However, the Witch is able to bring Milky White back to life, and instructs the Baker and his Wife feed the items to her. Jack milks her, but no milk comes. The Baker's Wife admits that the hair is Rapunzel's, and the Witch furiously explains that the magic will not work, because the Witch has already touched Rapunzel's hair. The Mysterious Man tells the Baker to feed the hair-like corn silk to the cow. Now Milky White gives milk which is the potion. The Witch reveals that the Mysterious Man is the Baker's father. The Witch drinks the potion and suddenly the Mysterious Man falls dead, his reparation complete. The curse is broken and the Witch is transformed into a beautiful young woman.
Cinderella's Prince searches for the girl whose foot fits the slipper; the stepsisters try but can only get it on by cutting off parts of their feet. Cinderella appears, her foot fits the slipper, and she becomes the Prince's bride. Rapunzel has borne twins in the desert where her Prince finds her. The Witch attempts to curse the couple, only to find that her powers have been lost. At Cinderella's wedding to the Prince, Florinda and Lucinda are blinded by birds as they try to win Cinderella's favor. Everyone but the Witch and the stepsisters congratulate themselves on being able to live happily "Ever After," though they fail to notice another beanstalk growing sky-high in the background.
The Narrator introduces the action again: "Once Upon a Time...Later." All the characters seem happy but are still wishing: The Baker and his Wife have their precious baby boy, but wish for more room and bicker over the Baker's unwillingness to hold his child; Jack and his mother are rich and well-fed, but Jack misses his kingdom in the sky; Cinderella is living with her Prince Charming in the Palace, but is getting bored ("So Happy").
Suddenly, everyone is knocked over by a loud crash, and enormous footprints have destroyed the Witch's garden, sparing only a few beans. The Baker and his Wife decide that they must tell the Royal Family, and the Baker travels to the palace. His news is ignored by the Prince's Steward, and also by Jack's Mother when he stops at her house to ask Jack's aid. When he returns home, Little Red Ridinghood arrives on her way to Granny's: Her house has been destroyed and her mother is missing. The Baker and his Wife decide to escort her. Meanwhile, Jack decides that he must slay the Giant and Cinderella learns from her bird friends that her mother's grave was disturbed and decides to investigate, dressed in her old clothes. Once again, everyone heads Into the Woods, but this time the mood is somber, and the birds have stopped singing. ("Into the Woods" Reprise).
While everyone else is drawn back into the woods, Rapunzel has fled there in a hysterical fit, her treatment at the hands of the Witch having driven her into madness. Her Prince has followed her, but when he encounters his brother they each confess they have another reason for their presence in the woods. They have grown bored and frustrated with their marriages and now lust after two beautiful women asleep in the woods - Snow White and Sleeping Beauty ("Agony" Reprise).
The Baker, his Wife and Little Red Ridinghood get lost in the woods and find Cinderella's family and the Steward, who reveal that the castle was set upon by the Giant. The Witch arrives as well, bringing news that the Giant has destroyed the village and the Baker's house. Suddenly, thunderous footsteps are heard, and the Giant appears. To the shock of all, this Giant is a woman, the widow of the Giant that Jack killed by chopping down the beanstalk. Her booming voice proclaims that she wants Jack's blood in revenge. To satisfy the Giantess, the group realizes they must give her someone, but are unable to decide on whom until they realize that the Narrator is still commenting on the actions from the sidelines. Everyone offers her the narrator as a sacrifice, but he convinces them how lost they would be without him. Nevertheless, the Witch throws him into the Giantess's arms and he is killed upon being dropped. Jack's mother finds the group and aggressively defends her son, angering the Giantess, and the Steward clubs Jack's mother to quiet her, inadvertently killing her. As the Giantess leaves to search for Jack, Rapunzel runs into her path and is trampled, to the horror of the Witch and her Prince ("Witch's Lament").
The Royal Family continues on their way, fleeing to a hidden Kingdom despite the Baker's pleas for them to stay and fight the Giant. The Witch declares she will find Jack and sacrifice him to the Giant, and the Baker and his Wife decide they must find him first and split up to search. The Baker's Wife meets Cinderella's Prince, and he easily seduces the Wife ("Any Moment"). Meanwhile, the Baker discovers Cinderella at her mother's destroyed grave and convinces her to join their group for safety. The Prince, satisfied, leaves the Baker's Wife with a few platitudes, and she realizes her error and decides to return to her happy life with the Baker and their son ("Moments in the Woods"). However, she has lost her way, and stumbles into the path of the Giant.
The Baker, Little Red, and Cinderella await the return of the Baker's Wife when The Witch drags in Jack, who she found weeping over the Baker's Wife's body. The Baker, grief-stricken when he learns of his wife's death, angrily agrees to give Jack to the Giantess, causing an argument. The characters first blame each other for their predicament, until finally they all decide to blame the Witch for growing the beans in the first place ("Your Fault"). Disgusted, the Witch curses them and throws away the rest of her magic beans, reactivating her mother's curse and making her vanish ("Last Midnight").
The grieving Baker flees but is visited by his father's spirit, who convinces him to face his responsibilities ("No More"). The Baker returns and helps plan to kill the Giantess, using Cinderella's bird friends to peck out the Giant's eyes at an area smeared with pitch, where Jack and the Baker can finally deliver a fatal blow. Cinderella stays behind to protect the Baker's child, and when her Prince passes by, he nearly fails to recognize her. She confronts him, having learned of his infidelity from her birds, and he explains his feelings of unfulfillment and his reasons for seducing another woman. She asks him to go, and he sorrowfully leaves.
Little Red returns with the news that her grandmother has been killed by the Giantess. Meanwhile, the Baker tells Jack that his mother is dead. Jack vows to kill the steward in revenge, until the Baker convinces him that killing the steward will not benefit anyone. Cinderella comforts Little Red and tries to answer her qualms that killing the giant makes them no better than she is, while the Baker explains to Jack his inability to say what is morally correct. ("No One Is Alone").
The four remaining characters slay the Giant, and the deceased characters as well the surviving Royal Family and the Princes (who have their new paramours on their arms) return to share one last set of morals with the audience. The survivors plan to rebuild their lives together, resolving to band together and rebuild. The spirit of the Baker's Wife appears to comfort her mourning husband, advising her husband to tell their child their story. The Baker begins to tell the story, using the same words as the narrator did at the beginning of the play, as the Witch appears, with the final moral: "Careful the things you say, 'Children Will Listen'." All join in on a last reprise of the title song, surmising that we all must venture Into the Woods, but never to forget the past ("Finale"). As the characters conclude the song singing, "Into the woods, and out of the woods and happily ever after" Cinderella closes the show with one last "I wish..."
Original Broadway production
Into the Woods premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, on December 4, 1986 and ran for 50 performances under the direction of James Lapine. Many of the performers from that production appeared in the Broadway cast but John Cunningham, who played the Narrator, Wolf and Steward and George Coe, as the Mysterious Man and Cinderella's Father were replaced by Tom Aldredge, who played the Narrator and Mysterious Man. Kenneth Marshall as Cinderella's Prince was replaced by Robert Westenberg (who also played the Wolf), LuAnne Ponce, who played Little Red Ridinghood, was replaced by Danielle Ferland, Ellen Foley, the Witch, was replaced by Bernadette Peters. Kay McClelland, who played both Rapunzel and the Stepsister Florinda, stayed with the cast but only played Florinda, Rapunzel being played by Pamela Winslow.
The musical opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on November 5, 1987, and closed on September 3, 1989 after 765 performances. It starred Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Kim Crosby, Ben Wright, Danielle Ferland, Chuck Wagner, Merle Louise, Tom Aldredge, and Robert Westenberg. The musical was directed by James Lapine, with musical staging by Lar Lubovitch, settings by Tony Straiges, lighting by Richard Nelson, and costumes by Ann Hould-Ward (based on original concepts by Patricia Zipprodt and Ann Hould-Ward). The original production won the 1988 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, and the original cast recording won a Grammy Award. The show was nominated for ten Tony Awards, and won three: Best Score (Stephen Sondheim), Best Book (James Lapine) and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason).
Peters left the show after almost five months due to a prior commitment to film the movie Slaves of New York. The Witch was then played by: Betsy Joslyn (from March 30, 1988);Phylicia Rashād (from April 14, 1988); Betsy Joslyn (from July 5, 1988); Nancy Dussault (from December 13, 1988); and Ellen Foley (from August 1, 1989 until the closing).
Other cast replacements included Dick Cavett as the Narrator (as of July 19, 1988) (for a temporary engagement after which Tom Aldredge returned), Edmund Lyndeck as the Mysterious Man, Patricia Ben Peterson as Cinderella, LuAnne Ponce returning to the role of Little Red Ridinghood, Jeff Blumenkrantz as Jack, Marin Mazzie as Rapunzel (as of March 7, 1989) and Kay McClelland, Lauren Mitchell, Cynthia Sikes and Mary Gordon Murray as the Baker's Wife.
In May 1989, the original cast (with the exception of Jean Louisa Kelly replaced by Cindy Robinson in the minor role of Snow White) reunited for one performance, which was filmed and broadcast on U.S. public television on March 20, 1991. This version (which featured pick-up shots filmed in an empty theater) has since been released on DVD.
Tenth Anniversary benefit performances of this production were held on November 9, 1997 at The Broadway Theatre (New York), with most of original cast. Original cast understudies Chuck Wagner and Jeff Blumenkrantz played Cinderella's Prince/Wolf and The Steward in place of Robert Westenburg and Philip Hoffmann and Jonathan Dokuchitz (who joined the broadway production as an understudy in 1989) played Rapunzel's Prince in place of Mr. Wagner. This concert featured the duet "Our Little World," written for the first London production of the show.
1988 US tour
A United States tour began on November 22, 1988 with Cleo Laine playing the Witch, replaced by Betsy Joslyn in May 1989. Rex Robbins played the Narrator and Mysterious Man, Charlotte Rae played Jack's Mother, and the Princes were played by Chuck Wagner and Douglas Sills. The 10-month tour played cities around the country, such as Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. The tour ran at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from June 1989 to July 16, 1989, with the reviewer for The Washington Post writing: "his lovely score -- poised between melody and dissonance -- is the perfect measure of our tenuous condition. The songs invariably follow the characters' thinking patterns, as they weigh their options and digest their experience. Needless to say, that doesn't make for traditional show-stoppers. But it does make for vivacity of another kind. And Sondheim's lyrics...are brilliant.... I think you'll find these cast members alert and engaging."
Original London production
The original West End production opened on September 25, 1990 at the Phoenix Theatre and closed on February 23, 1991 after 197 performances. It was directed by Richard Jones, and produced by David Mirvish, with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, costumes by Sue Blane and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. The cast featured Julia McKenzie as the Witch, Ian Bartholomew as the Baker, Imelda Staunton as the Baker's Wife and Clive Carter as the Wolf/Cinderella's Prince. The show received seven Olivier Award nominations in 1991, winning for Best Actress in a Musical (Staunton) and Best Director of a Musical (Jones).
Some story aspects and one song that were cut from the original production were added to the London production. The song "Our Little World" was added. This song was a duet sung between the Witch and Rapunzel giving further insight into the care the Witch has for her self-proclaimed daughter and the desire Rapunzel has to see the world outside of her tower. The overall feel of the show was a lot darker than that of the original Broadway production. Critic Michael Billington wrote "But the evening's triumph belongs also to director Richard Jones, set designer Richard Hudson and costume designer Sue Blane who evoke exactly the right mood of haunted theatricality. Old-fashioned footlights give the faces a sinister glow. The woods themselves are a semi-circular, black-and-silver screen punctuated with nine doors and a crazy clock: they achieve exactly the 'agreeable terror' of Gustave Dore's children's illustrations. And the effects are terrific: doors open to reveal the rotating magnified eyeball or the admonitory finger of the predatory giant."
1998 London revival
A new intimate production of the show opened (billed as the first London revival) at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 November 1998, closing on 13 February 1999. This revival was directed by John Crowley and designed by his brother, Bob Crowley. The cast included Clare Burt as the Witch, Nick Holder as the Baker, Sophie Thompson as the Baker's Wife, Jenna Russell as Cinderella, Sheridan Smith as Little Red Ridinghood and Frank Middlemass as the Narrator/Mysterious Man. Russell later appeared as the Baker's Wife in the 2010 Regent's Park production. Thompson won the 1999 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance, while the production itself was nominated for Outstanding Musical Production.
2002 Broadway revival
A revival opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, running from February 1, 2002 to March 24, 2002. This production was directed and choreographed, with the same principal cast, which later ran on Broadway.
The 2002 Broadway revival, directed by James Lapine and choreographed by John Carrafa, began previews on April 13, 2002 and opened April 30, 2002 at the Broadhurst Theatre, closing on December 29 after a run of 18 previews and 279 regular performances. It starred Vanessa L. Williams as the Witch, John McMartin as the Narrator, Stephen DeRosa as the Baker, Kerry O'Malley as the Baker's Wife, Gregg Edelman as Cinderella's Prince/Wolf, Christopher Sieber as Rapunzel's Prince/Wolf, Molly Ephraim as Little Red Ridinghood, Adam Wylie as Jack and Laura Benanti as Cinderella. Judi Dench provided the pre-recorded voice of the Giant.
Lapine revised the script slightly for this production, with a cameo appearance of the Three Little Pigs restored from the earlier San Diego production. Other changes, apart from numerous small dialogue changes, included the addition of the song "Our Little World," a duet for the Witch and Rapunzel written for the first London production, the addition of a second wolf in the song "Hello Little Girl" who competes for Little Red's attention with the first Wolf, the portrayal of Jack's cow by a live performer (Chad Kimball) in an intricate costume and new lyrics were written for "The Last Midnight," now sung by the Witch as a menacing lullaby to the Baker's baby.
London Royal Opera House, 2007
A revival at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio in Covent Garden had a limited run from June 14 through June 30, 2007 followed by a short stint at The Lowry theatre, Salford Quays, Manchester between 4–7 July. The production mixed Opera singers, Musical Theatre actors as well as Film and television actors; including Anne Reid as Jack's Mother and Gary Waldhorn as the Narrator. The production itself, directed by Will Tuckett, was met with mixed reviews; although there were clear stand out performances.
The production completey sold out three weeks before opening. As this was an 'Opera' production, the show and its performers were overlooked for the 'Musical' nominations in the 2008 Olivier Awards. This production featured Suzie Toase (Little Red), Peter Caulfield (Jack), Beverley Klein (Witch), Anna Francolini (Baker's Wife), Clive Rowe (Baker), Nicholas Garrett (wolf) and Lara Pulver (Lucinda). This was the second Sondheim musical to be staged by the Opera House, following 2003's Sweeney Todd.
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, 2010
The Olivier Award winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production, directed by Timothy Sheader and choreographed by Liam Steel, ran for a six-week limited season from 6 August to 11 September 2010. The cast included Hannah Waddingham as the Witch, Mark Hadfield as the Baker, Jenna Russell as the Baker’s wife, Helen Dallimore as Cinderella, and Judi Dench as the recorded voice of the Giant. Gareth Valentine was the Musical Director. The musical was performed outdoors in a wooded area. Whilst the book remained mostly unchanged, the subtext of the plot was dramatically altered by casting the role of the Narrator as a young school boy lost in the woods following a family argument – a device used to further illustrate the musical’s themes of parenting and adolescence.
The production opened to wide critical acclaim, much of the press commenting on the effectiveness of the open air setting. The Telegraph reviewer, for example, wrote: "It is an inspired idea to stage this show in the magical, sylvan surroundings of Regent’s Park, and designer Soutra Gilmour has come up with a marvellously rickety, adventure playground of a set, all ladders, stairs and elevated walkways, with Rapunzel discovered high up in a tree." The New York Times reviewer commented: "The natural environment makes for something genuinely haunting and mysterious as night falls on the audience..." Stephen Sondheim attended twice, reportedly extremely pleased with the production. The production also won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and Michael Xavier, who played Cinderella's Prince and the Wolf, was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
The production was recorded in its entirety and released for public download through Digital Theatre, an online video production company.
Public Theater, New York, 2012
The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production transferred to the Public Theater's 2012 summer series of free performances Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York, with an American cast as well as new designers. Sheader again was the director and Steel served as co-director and choreographer. Performances were originally to run from July 24 (delayed from July 23 due to the weather) to August 25, 2012, but the show was extended till September 1, 2012. The cast included Amy Adams as The Baker's Wife, Donna Murphy as The Witch, Denis O'Hare as The Baker, Chip Zien as the Mysterious Man/Cinderella's Father, Jack Broderick as the young Narrator, Gideon Glick as Jack, Cooper Grodin as Rapunzel’s Prince, Ivan Hernandez as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf, Tina Johnson as Granny, Josh Lamon as the Steward, Jessie Mueller as Cinderella, Laura Shoop as Cinderella’s Mother, Tess Soltau as Rapunzel and Glenn Close as the Voice of the Giant. The set was a "collaboration between original Open Air Theatre designer Soutra Gilmour and...John Lee Beatty, [and] rises over 50 feet in the air, with a series of tree-covered catwalks and pathways." The production was dedicated to Nora Ephron, who died earlier in 2012. In February 2012 and in May 2012, reports of a possible Broadway transfer surfaced with the production's principal actors in negotiations to reprise their roles. In January 2013, it was announced that the production will not transfer to Broadway due to scheduling conflicts.
- 1993 Sydney Theatre Company production
This production played from 19 March 1993 to 5 June 1993 at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. It starred Judi Connelli, Geraldine Turner, Tony Sheldon, Philip Quast, Sharon Millerchip, Pippa Grandison, Simon Chilvers and DJ Foster.
- 1994 Watershed Theatre production
- 1998 Melbourne Theatre Company production
This production played from 17 January 1998 to 21 February 1998 at the Playhouse, Victorian Arts Centre. It starred Rhonda Burchmore, John McTernan, Gina Riley, Lisa McCune, Peter Carroll, Anthony Weigh, Tamsin Carroll and Robert Grubb.
- 2007 Barcelona production
Boscos endins was the Catalan adaptation by Joan Vives with the collaboration of Joan Lluís Bozzo. It was first presented by the Theatre Company Dagoll Dagom in Girona at the Festival Temporada Alta on November 22, 2007, and in January it was held at Teatre Victòria, in Avinguda del Paral·lel, Barcelona, Spain
- 2009/10 London Production
In December 2009 the show was presented at the Bloomsbury Theatre London by the UCLU Musical Theatre Society in a brand new production. Produced by Alicia Bennett and directed by Dom O'Hanlon the show was personally supported by Stephen Sondheim and praised for its new interpretation. The production was selected to be performed as part of the Sunday Times National Student Drama Festival 2010 in Scarborough, featuring the original cast and orchestra at the Spa Theatre, Scarborough in April 2010.
- 2011 Singapore production
The 2011 Singapore production presented by Dream Academy ran from 29 July to 7 August 2011. Directed by Glen Goei, it featured Ria Jones (Witch), Adrian Pang (Baker), Selena Tan (Baker's Wife), Sebastian Tan (Jack), Emma Yong (Cinderella), Denise Tan (Little Red Riding Hood) and Lim Kay Siu (narrator)
- 2011 Santa Ana production
The Mysterium Theater presented the production directed by Marla Ladd ran from August 18 to September 24.
- 2012 Baltimore and Connecticut production
Directed by Mark Lamos, Center Stage (in a co-production with Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut) in Baltimore, Maryland presented Into the Woods, running from March 7 to April 15, 2012. The cast included Danielle Ferland as the Baker's wife, Jeffry Denman as the Narrator, Jenny Latimer as Cinderella, Justin Scott Brown as Jack, Erik Liberman as the Baker, Dana Steingold as Little Red Ridinghood, Nik Walker as Wolf/Cinderella's Prince, and Lauren Kennedy as the Witch. The production transferred to Westport Country Playhouse for a run lasting from May 1 to May 25, 2012.
- 2013 Puerto Rican production
The first professional Spanish language production, "Dentro del Bosque", was produced by the University of Puerto Rico Repertory Theatre and premiered in San Juan at Teatro de la Universidad (University Theatre) on March, 14. Directed by Edgar García Rivera, it starred: Víctor Santiago (Baker), Ana Isabelle (Baker's Wife), Lourdes Robles (Witch), Julio Enrique Court (Narrator/Mysterious Man), Xavier Rivera (Jack), Ulises Santiago de Orduña (Wolf), Angeliz Nieves (Little Red Riding Hood), Daisy Maeso (Cinderella), Armando Vegerano (Cinderella's Prince), Sara García (Jack's mother), Kedward Avilés (Steward).
- 2014 Paris production
Directed by Lee Blakeley. Musical direction by David Charles Abell. April 1–12, 2014 at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. It featured Kimy McLaren (Cinderella), Leslie Clack (The Narrator), Nicholas Garrett (The Baker), Beverley Klein (The Witch), Pascal Charbonneau (Jack), Damian Thantrey (Cinderella's Prince), David Curry (Rapunzel's Prince), Francesca Jackson (Little Red Ridinghood), Rebecca de Pont Davies (Jack's Mother), Louise Adler (Rapunzel).
- 2014 Interlochen Arts Academy production
- 2014 Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, Oregon) production
Directed by Amanda Dehnert, costume design by Linda Roethke, and scenic design by Rachel Hauck, the show ran from June 4, 2014 – October 11, 2014 with Miriam A. Laube as the Witch, Anthony Heald as the Narrator and Mysterious Stranger, Javier Muňoz as the Baker, Rachael Warren as the Baker’s Wife, Jennie Greenberry as Cinderella, Kjerstine Rose Anderson as Little Red Riding Hood, Miles Fletcher as Jack, Catherine E. Couson as Milky White, Little Red Riding Hood’s Granny, Giantess, and Cinderella’s Stepmother, Jeremy Peter Johnson as Cinderella’s Prince and the Wolf (vocals), Howie Seago as the Wolf (sign language), John Tufts as Rapunzel’s Prince, Royer Bockus as Rapunzel, Robin Goodrin Nordli as Jack’s Mother, Robert Vincent Frank as Cinderella’s Father, Katie Bradley as Florinda and Sleeping Beauty, Christiana Clark as Lucinda and Snow White, and David Kelly as the Steward.
- 2014 Victorian Opera with Orchestra Victoria (Melbourne, Australia)
Directed by Stuart Maunder. Musical Director Benjamin Northey July 19–26, 2014
- 2014 Off-Broadway production
An Off-Broadway production, directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, will begin performances December 19, 2014 prior to an official opening January 15, 2015, at the Lara Pels Theatre. Like the original Broadway production 28 years prior, this production did a try-out run at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California from July 12, 2014 – August 17, 2014 with the opening night taking place on July 17.
- 2014 San Francisco production
The musical has been adapted into a child-friendly version for use by schools, with the second act completely removed, as well as certain elements from the first. The show is shortened from the original 3-plus hours to fit in a 60 to 80 minute range, and the music transposed into keys that more easily fit young voices.
Walt Disney Pictures is producing a film adaptation of Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Christine Baranski, and Tracey Ullman. The film will be released on December 25, 2014.
The principal original casts of notable productions of Into the Woods
|Role||Original Broadway production||First US National Tour||Original London production||Broadway revival||London revival||Regent's Park production||Public Theatre production|
|Narrator||Tom Aldredge||Rex Robbins||Nicholas Parsons||John McMartin||Gary Waldhorn||Eddie Manning
|Cinderella||Kim Crosby||Kathleen Rowe McAllen||Jacqui Dankworth||Laura Benanti||Gillian Kirkpatrick||Helen Dallimore||Jessie Mueller|
|Jack||Ben Wright||Robert Duncan McNeill||Richard Dempsey||Adam Wylie||Peter Caulfield||Ben Stott||Gideon Glick|
|The Baker||Chip Zien||Ray Gill||Ian Bartholomew||Stephen DeRosa||Clive Rowe||Mark Hadfield||Denis O'Hare|
|The Baker's Wife||Joanna Gleason||Mary Gordon Murray||Imelda Staunton||Kerry O'Malley||Anna Francolini||Jenna Russell||Amy Adams|
|Cinderella's Stepmother||Joy Franz||Jo Ann Cunningham||Ann Howard||Pamela Myers||Elizabeth Brice||Gaye Brown||Ellen Harvey|
|Florinda||Kay McClelland||Susan Gordon-Clark||Elizabeth Brice||Tracy Nicole Chapman||Louise Bowden||Amy Ellen Richardson||Bethany Moore|
|Lucinda||Lauren Mitchell||Danette Cuming||Liza Sadovy||Amanda Naughton||Lara Pulver||Amy Griffiths||Jennifer Rias|
|Jack's Mother||Barbara Bryne||Charlotte Rae||Patsy Rowlands||Marylouise Burke||Anne Reid||Marilyn Cutts||Kristine Zbornik|
|Little Red Ridinghood||Danielle Ferland||Tracy Katz||Tessa Burbridge||Molly Ephraim||Suzie Toase||Beverly Rudd||Sarah Stiles|
|The Witch||Bernadette Peters||Cleo Laine||Julia McKenzie||Vanessa Williams||Beverly Klein||Hannah Waddingham||Donna Murphy|
|Cinderella's Father||Edmund Lyndeck||Don Crosby||John Rogan||Dennis Kelly||Martin Nelson||N/A||Chip Zien|
|Ghost of Cinderella's Mother||Merle Louise||Nora Mae Lyng||Eunice Gayson||Laura Benanti||Gemma Wardle||Laura Shoop|
|The Mysterious Man||Tom Aldredge||Rex Robbins||John Rogan||John McMartin||Martin Nelson||Billy Boyle||Chip Zien|
|The Wolf||Robert Westenberg||Chuck Wagner||Clive Carter||Gregg Edelman
|Nicholas Garrett||Michael Xavier||Ivan Hernandez|
|Cinderella's Prince||Gregg Edelman|
|Rapunzel||Pamela Winslow||Marguerite Lowell||Mary Lincoln||Melissa Dye||Christina Haldane||Alice Fearn||Tess Soltau|
|Rapunzel's Prince||Chuck Wagner||Douglas Sills||Mark Tinkler||Christopher Sieber||Nic Greenshields||Simon Thomas||Cooper Grodin|
|Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother||Merle Louise||Nora Mae Lyng||Eunice Gayson||Pamela Myers||Linda Hibberd||Valda Aviks||Tina Johnson|
|Steward||Philip Hoffman||Marcus Olson||Peter Ledbury||Trent Armand Kendall||Byron Watson||Mark Goldthorp||Josh Lamon|
|Giant's Wife||Merle Louise||Nora Mae Lyng||Eunice Gayson||Judi Dench
|Linda Hibberd||Judi Dench
|Snow White||Jean Kelly (Cindy Robinson in proshot version)||N/A||Megan Kelly||N/A||N/A||Sophie Caton||Victoria Cook|
|Sleeping Beauty||Maureen Davis||N/A||Kate Arneil||N/A||N/A||Alice Fearn||Tess Soltau|
|Milky White||N/A||N/A||N/A||Chad Kimball||N/A||Mark Goldthorp, Gemma Wardle, Amy Ellen Richardson||Victoria Cook, Eric R. Williams, Johnny Newcomb, Laura Shoop|
|Woodsman||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Marc Antolin||Johnny Newcomb|
|Harp||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Sophie Caton||Victoria Cook|
|Hansel||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Eric R. Williams|
Analysis of book and music
In most productions of Into the Woods, including the original Broadway production, several parts are doubled. Cinderella's Prince and the Wolf, who share the characteristic of being unable to control their appetites, are played by the same actor. Similarly, the Narrator and the Mysterious Man, who share the characteristic of commenting on the story while avoiding any personal involvement or responsibility. Granny and Cinderella's Mother, who are both matriarchal characters in the story, are also typically played by the same person, who also gives voice to the nurturing but later murderous Giant's Wife.
The show covers multiple themes: growing up, parents and children, accepting responsibility, morality, and finally, wish fulfillment and its consequences. The Time Magazine reviewers wrote that the play's "basic insight ... is at heart, most fairy tales are about the loving yet embattled relationship between parents and children. Almost everything that goes wrong — which is to say, almost everything that can — arises from a failure of parental or filial duty, despite the best intentions." Stephen Holden wrote that the themes of the show include parent-child relationships and the individual's responsibility to the community. The witch isn't just a scowling old hag, but a key symbol of moral ambivalence. James Lapine said that the most unpleasant person (the Witch) would have the truest things to say and the "nicer" people would be less honest. In the Witch's words: "I'm not good; I'm not nice; I'm just right."
The score is also notable in Sondheim's output, because of its intricate reworking and development of small musical motifs. In particular, the opening words, "I wish", are set to the interval of a rising major second and this small unit is both repeated and developed throughout the show, just as Lapine's book explores the consequences of self-interest and "wishing." The dialogue in the show is characterized by the heavy use of syncopated speech. In many instances, the characters' lines are delivered with a fixed beat that follows natural speech rhythms, but is also purposely composed in eighth, sixteenth, and quarter note rhythms as part of a spoken song. Like many Sondheim/Lapine productions, the songs contain thought-process narrative, where characters converse or think aloud.
Sondheim drew on parts of his troubled childhood when writing the show. In 1987, he told Time Magazine that the "father uncomfortable with babies [was] his father, and [the] mother who regrets having had children [was] his mother."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
Original London production
|1991||Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Musical||Nominated|
|Best Director of a Musical||Richard Jones||Won|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Ian Bartholomew||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Imelda Staunton||Won|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Clive Carter||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Sue Blane||Nominated|
1999 London revival
|1999||Laurence Olivier Award||Outstanding Musical Production||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Sophie Thompson||Won|
2002 Broadway revival
2010 London revival
|2011||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Musical Revival||Won|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Michael Xavier||Nominated|
2012 New York revival
|2013||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Donna Murphy||Nominated|
- Hutchins, Michael H. (October 14, 2010). "Into the Woods". The Stephen Sondheim Reference Guide. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- The Sondheim score and Lapine book differs from the Brothers Grimm tale by rendering "Riding Hood" as "Ridinghood"
- "Into the Woods' listing, Old Globe Theatre, 1986 SondheimGuide.com, retrieved April 17, 2010
- "Bernadette Peters is leaving Into the Woods as of March 30 to make the movie 'Slaves of New York'..." Nemy, Enid. "On Stage", The New York Times, March 11, 1988, Section C; Page 2
- "Phylicia Rashad is to replace Bernadette Peters in the role of the Witch...[Rashad] will take over the Broadway role in mid-April. Until then, the Witch is being played by Betsy Joslyn." "Phylicia Rashad Joining Cast of 'Into the Woods'", The New York Times, p.C18, March 30, 1988 (no author)
- Guernsey, Otis L. "'Into the Woods' Listing", The Best Plays of 1988-1989, Hal Leonard Corporation, 1989, ISBN 1557830568, p.462
- "Cast Replacements-Witch", SondheimGuide.com, accessed August 2, 2012
- "1991 Television Version" SondheimGuide.com, accessed March 19, 2012
- "Concert, Tenth Anniversary" SondheimGuide.com
- Green, Stanley and Green, Kay. "'Into the Woods'", Broadway Musicals, Show by Show(5ed), Hal Leonard Corporation, 1996, ISBN 0793577500, p. 277
- Hutchins, Michael H. (October 14, 2010). "Into the Woods, 1988 National Touring Company". The Stephen Sondheim Reference Guide. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Stearns, David Patrick. USA Today, January 26, 1989, p.4D
- Richards, David. "Woods' of enchantment;At the Opera House, Sondlheim's Bittersweet Turn on Happily Ever After", The Washington Post, June 24, 1989, p.B1
- "1990 London Production" SondheimGuide.com, accessed March 26, 2011
- Billington, Michael. "Arts: In the thickets of thought - Michael Billington sings the praises of Sondheim and Lapine's fairy tale attempt to push the musical into new and daring directions", The Guardian (London), September 27, 1990 (no page number)
- "Archive Page for 'Into the Woods'", Albemarle of London
- "2002 Los Angeles Production" sondheimguide.com, accessed July 1, 2011
- Reviving the Woods (2002)" sondheim.com, accessed March 26, 2011
- O'Haire, Patricia."'Woods' Path Takes New Twists"New York Daily News, January 9, 2002
- Pressley, Nelson. "A Spruced-Up 'Into the Woods' Grows on Broadway", The Washington Post, May 1, 2002, p. C1
- "2002 revival production information" sondheimguide.com
- Cavendish, Dominic (June 21, 2007). "Beyond the happy-ever-after". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Hall, George (June 20, 2007). "Into the Woods". The Stage (London). Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Billington, Michael (June 20, 2007). "Into the Woods". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- Waddingham, Russel Lead Open Air Theatre's INTO THE WOODS, 8/6-9/11 Broadway World, Retrieved July 27, 2013
- Shenton, Mark."New London Production of Into the Woods Opens at Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park Aug. 16" Playbill.com, August 16, 2010
- Spencer, Charles."'Into the Woods', Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, review" telegraph.co.uk, 17 August 2010
- Wolf, Matt."Playing Sondheim in the Woods" The New York Times, August 24, 2010
- Into theWoods digitaltheatre.com
- "Official: 'Into the Woods' & 'As You Like It' Set for Shakespeare in the Park; Lily Rabe Set for 'Rosalind'" broadwayworld.com, January 26, 2012
- "Into The Woods, Starring Amy Adams, Denis O'Hare & Donna Murphy, Extends Central Park Run" broadway.com, August 7, 2012
- Hetrick, Adam (July 23, 2012). ""Once Upon a Time": Into the Woods, With Chip Zien, Donna Murphy, Denis O'Hare and Amy Adams, Begins July 23 in Central Park". playbill.com. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
- "Central Park 'Into The Woods' Already Considering Broadway?", Broadwayworld.com, February 22, 2012
- "The Public ‘plays’ it safe" New York Post
- Hetrick, Adam. "Is Public Theater Considering Broadway Run of 'Into the Woods?'", Playbill.com, May 11, 2012
- INTO THE WOODS Will Not Transfer to Broadway; THE SUNSHINE BOYS Delayed to 2013-14 Season Broadway World, January 6, 2013
- Healey, Ken (and others). "Reviews, Sydney Theatre Company, Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House" The Sun-Herald, (and others) March 28, 1993
- Kemp, Peter. Roger Hodgman Unveils His Final Season at Melbourne Theatre Company", Playbill, September 30, 1997
- Burchmore, Rhonda and Howson, Frank. Into the Woods Legs 11, New Holland Publishers (AU), 2010, ISBN 1742570119, (page numbers unknown)
- 2007 Catalan production dagolldagom.com
-  ucl.ac.uk
-  comesingapore.com
- Mysterium Theater mysteriumshop.com
- Hetrick, Adam. Into the Woods, With Danielle Ferland, Lauren Kennedy, Erik Liberman, Begins in Baltimore March 7" Playbill.com, March 7, 2012
- "Second Midnight: Into the Woods, With Danielle Ferland and Lauren Kennedy, Begins at Westport Playhouse May 1" Playbill, 2012
-  vocero.com
- "Fiasco Theater's Ten-Person 'Into the Woods' Will Venture Off-Broadway for Roundabout's 2014-15 Season" playbill.com, Retrieved March 6, 2014
- Into the Woods Press Page theoldglobe.org, Retrieved August 11, 2014
- "SF Playhouse Into the Woods". Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- "Into the Woods Junior". www.mtishows.com. Music Theatre International.
- Ng, David (5 September 2013). "Sam Mendes, Rob Marshall will revive their revival of 'Cabaret'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Cerasoro, Pat (7 August 2013). "INTO THE WOODS Rehearsals Begin! Complete Confirmed Cast, With Stars Already Tweeting Pics & More". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Schillaci, Sophie; Pamela McClintock (13 June 2013). "Disney Dates Musical 'Into the Woods' Opposite 'Annie' in December 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "1990 London Production Cast". The Stephen Sondheim Reference Guide. pp. Into the Woods. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- Playbill News: Cinderella and Her Mother: Benanti Does Double Duty in Into the Woods ; Prepares Solo CD
- Stenton, Mark. "Judi Dench to Provide Voice of Giant in New London Production of 'Into the Woods'", Playbill, June 18, 2010
- Hetrick, Adam. "Glenn Close Will Voice Giant for Shakespeare in the Park's Into the Woods", Playbill, July 16, 2012
- Flatow, Sheryl. Liner Notes, Into the Woods CD, 1988, RCA Victor 6796-2-RC
- Henry, William A. and Bland, Elizabeth A. "Theater: Some Enchanted Evening 'Into The Woods'". Time Magazine (abstract, subscription required), November 16, 1987.
- Holden, Stephen."A Fairy-Tale Musical Grows Up". The New York Times, November 1, 1987
- Henry, William A, III; Bland, Elizabeth L. (December 7, 1987). "Master of the Musical (subscription required, abstract)". Time Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
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