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Into the Woods DVD Cover

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Into the Woods

Friday the 7th of March


If the end is right it justifies the beans.
--Baker's Wife (Joanna Gleason)

USA: 1991 -- Directed by James Lapine
Written by Stephen Sondheim
Starring Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien and Joanna Gleason

I was raised to be charming. Not sincere.
--Robert Westenberg as Prince Charming

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. While the faces and names are familiar, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and company inhabit a sylvan neighborhood in which witches and bakers are next-door neighbors, handsome princes from once-parallel fables are competitive (and equally vain) brothers, and all the stories intersect through unexpected new plot twists.

Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning score favors intricate ensemble numbers that present the characters' divergent, then overlapping fears and desires. And it's the latter category that provides a primary thread to James Lapine's ingenious puzzle of a book, which coheres around the inevitability--and treachery--of our innermost wishes. That theme is given farcical energy in the first act, which offers enough comic invention, tart dialogue, and witty music for a satisfying evening of theater as is.

Instead, Sondheim and Lapine offer a bold, darker second act that takes a look at what happens after "happily ever after," elevating the work beyond inspired parody toward allegorical gravity. By the final scenes, with the one-two punch of the score's two most enduring songs, "No One Is Alone" and "Children Will Listen," what began as a clever diversion has touched deeper nerves and primed some tear ducts. This video production by the original Broadway cast gets its marquee shimmer from Bernadette Peters's wonderful witch, but the standout (and Tony winner as Best Actress) is Joanna Gleason, who gives the Baker's Wife a mixture of warmth, pragmatism, and sudden, poignantly romantic radiance.

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a cow as white as milk.

The Cast Bernadette Peters as the Witch More of the Cast


Won 1988 Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical: Joanna Gleason, Best Book of a Musical: James Lapine, Best Score: Stephen Sondheim

Nominated for 1988 Tony Awards for Bets Musical, Best Director: James Lapine, Best Actor in a Featured Role--Musical: Robert Westenberg, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design and Choreography

Won 2002 Tony Award for Best Revival--Musical

Nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Classical Program in the Performing Arts

More awards

Memorable Quotes

Narrator: You need an objective observer to pass the story along.
Witch: Some of us don't like the way you've been telling it.

Jack's Mother: Children can be very queer about thir animals. You be careful with your children.
Baker's Wife: [mournfully] I have no children.
Jack's Mother: That's okay too.

The Bakers Wife: Oh if life were made of moments, even now and then a bad one, but if life were made of moments then you'd never know you'd had one.

Baker's Wife: Please! I need the other shoe to have a child!

More quotes


The UNofficial INTO THE WOODS Homepage

The original Broadway poster The Princes sing 'Agony'