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Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Several years back, my husband and I lived in a very large home. We would often wonder where in the house the other one was. Sometimes we would meet in the hallway. We called it “Into the Woods”.

In 1986, the musical “Into the Woods” was first produced. Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics to this brilliant musical. Based on several fairy tales, this show was for adults, and the happily ever after, well, like I said, “Into the Woods” was for adults.

One could learn a lot about life from this show. Cases in point:

The story begins with Jack and his, well, sickly cow named Milky White. Through the course of events, Jack eventually trades Milky White for, you guessed it…a bean…which grows into the famous bean stalk, and Jack begins his climb. Jack faces witches, giants and all kinds of scary events, but in the end he learns that you must venture out into the world to learn about it…and things aren’t always what they seem.

Cinderella joyfully goes to the ball and meets Prince Charming. Then she loses her shoe on the palace step. She learns that sometimes you have to lose something in order to gain something better. “Adversity introduced this girl to herself.”

One of my favorite songs is when the two self-indulgent princes lament their fate in the song “Agony”. From these two princes of self-absorption, we learn that sometimes, perhaps all the time, we have to guard our feelings, especially when those around us are powerful and have power over us.

From Rapunzel, we learn that we should never let down our hair, especially if it is long enough to have someone climb upon it.

The baker’s wife has a tryst in the woods with one of the princes. From her we learn always to put life into perspective. We also see where the expression “What happens in the woods, stays in the woods.” comes from.

And lastly, on Broadway, the ever young and beautiful Bernadette Peters plays the ugly turned beautiful witch who has some good points to make here and there.

Oh dear. Nothing is ever black and white. Shades of gray all the way. The DVD “Into the Woods” is available to the public, and it is worth seeing. The composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim created another one of his masterpieces. From the creator of shows like “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, “Sweeney Todd”, and  “Sunday in the Park with George”, came a completely different take on modern day fairy tales.

It is interesting to note that originally fairy tales were considered very dark. Even “Rock-a-Bye Baby” had its darkness. I have seen all of Stephen’s shows. His career has spanned so many years.  I highly recommend “Into the Woods” to anyone who loves musicals.  The music and the play offer us a journey into “Once Upon A Time”.

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