Into the Woods is a musical by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book), first performed in 1986. The musical takes a new look at fairytales by combining various characters and creating a new world for them. Brief synopsis: a baker and his wife are desperate for a child but are told by the witch, who lives next door, that she has places a curse on the house that can only be reversed if they retrieve “the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slippers as pure as gold”. See? Getting the links? As a concept it’s very interesting, but you may be wondering why I’m writing about it.
Well, on Monday I am off to Manchester for two weeks for the rehearsals and production of Into the Woods by The Company at the Lowry Theatre in Salford. It seems an appropriate time for Into the Woods with the current fairytale obsession – Once Upon a Time, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jack the Giant Killer (both out next year). There is also news that Rob Marshall has signed on to make a film adaptation for Disney, scripted by Lapine with additional songs by Sondheim.
Mainly I wanted to write a post to 1) explain my (assumed) absence due to non-stop days (we assume…) and 2) encourage people to go to the theatre (but especially Into the Woods – booking still open). Generally speaking, a trip to the theatre can be expensive so I sympathise but I would recommend making the effort to see certain shows. Noises Off, One Man, Two Guv’nors and Matilda (to name a few) are all on at the West End and are great. The Book of Mormon is coming to London next year and I am stupidly excited. And a number of shows tour the country now so it’s not all about London. I love films, I love going to the cinema, but there are some times when you just need to experience a show. THAT’S 3D. Without light loss or uncomfortable plastic glasses. No-one will ever see the same performance as you – not even the person sitting next to you. No two performances are the same, It lives for that single second. And then it’s gone. It is a completely personal experience. There is so much talent out there and much of it is overlooked for an easy night at the cinema or in front on the tv. Don’t limit yourself. Do it all!
(But mostly come to see Into the Woods.)