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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.
The DVD version is comparatively no-frills, given its American Playhouse origins, but multiformat digital audio renders the musical performances in immaculate detail. --Sam Sutherland
I love this original cast! This is basically perfect casting. The witch, the baker, baker's wife, Cinderella, Cinderella's prince were the ones that stood out to me. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Kelvin Kao
We love this version of Into the Woods. All other pale in comparison.Published 2 months ago by Wendi
I have seen the new movie production of Into the Woods and loved it. I bought this long before the movie came out and had never seen it so it was nice to know what was going on... Read morePublished 3 months ago by CEG
I had heard so much about the stage production and this original cast that I just HAD to see it....especially after I saw the "Woods" movie. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Charlee
Great Show! The quality of the production was fantastic. All star cast.Published 4 months ago by famof6
The new movie is ok. The original is exceptional. The costumes are a bit dated, but the music is amazing and it's so much fun to watch!Published 4 months ago by Book Girl
My husband and I loved the first half of this video...the second half could have been eliminated.Published 4 months ago by Barbara Kane