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Into the Woods (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

May 16, 2006 | Format: MP3

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
INTO THE WOODS is one of Stephen Sondheim's most beloved shows, but even more credit should go to book writer / director James Lapine. College courses across the nation study this intricate, entertaining, and thought-provoking musical. The book is at turns humorous and challenging.

THE STORY:
Lapine cleverly combines four of the Grimm brothers' most famous fairy tales, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Ridinghood, and couples them with his own fairy tale about a childless Baker and his Wife. On one level, the show is simple enough. Act I introduces the characters and charmingly chronicles their well-known adventures of fulfilling their wishes on the way to "happily ever after." In Act II, the community faces a frightening new problem, one in which neither the characters nor we know how the story will end.

But on another level, we slowly come to realize that these characters' celebrated virtues can also be considered major flaws. Jack is a thief. Cinderella runs away instead of telling the truth. Rapunzel cannot cope in civilization after years of virginal isolation. Beauty is not the same thing as power. Those who fall in love at first sight may have wandering eyes....

Lapine and Sondheim's message is best summed up in Cinderella's lullaby to Red Ridinghood, "No One Is Alone." Every action we take has a consequence to others. Right and wrong, black and white, good and evil, give way to half-truths, shades of gray, and ambiguity. Only in hindsight can we evaluate if the ends justify the means by which we pursue our dreams. We must remember that our values and our stories will have a lasting impact on our children.
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Format: Audio CD
I had to listen to "Into the Woods" a few times before I began to enjoy it. Unlike the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Boublil and Schonberg which I can enjoy from the moment I begin listening to them, I find that I have to listen to Stephen Sondheim's musicals several times before I begin to understand the plot (if there is a plot), and then become accustomed to the lyrics and music. After listening several times, I then realise what a clever lyricist and entertaining composer Sondheim is. 'Into the Woods' is, in my opinion, Sondheim's best musical, closely followed by 'Sweeney Todd'. Sondheim has placed numerous lessons and morals in 'Into the Woods', and entertains listeners with his music and comical lyrics, whilst educating them with these lessons which he has placed in the musical. The plot of 'Into the Woods' revolves around the lives of several well-known fairytale characters, consequently 'Into the Woods' contains a number of main characters.
Bernadette Peters portrayal of the Witch is unbeatable, and I don't think it ever will be. Peters has an interesting voice, I don't know how to describe it; shrill? Nasal? I'm not really a big fan of her singing voice but it really suits the character of the witch. Her acting ability is also a credit to her. Listeners are first introduced to the Witch in the prologue where she sings the rap-like song about 'greens', which is rather comical and performed brilliantly by Peters. The witch's 'Lament' is one of the powerful songs which Peter's performs after her adopted daughter, Rapunzel, is trampled by a giant.
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Format: Audio CD
It's safe to say that INTO THE WOODS will go down as one of Broadway's classics. People have analyzed this show and applied it to so many areas of life, including the AIDS epidemic and 9/11. What this proves is the timeless quality of Sondheim and Lapine's musical that incorporates classic fairy tale characters into a story that teaches life lessons for all ages.

The voices on this recording are truly phenomenal. Bernadette Peters is often referred to as the last true Broadway actress as the Great White Way moves toward more Pop Musicals (WICKED, BROOKLYN, AVENUE Q, HAIRSPRAY), and it's true. She delivers a truly stunning performance.

Joanna Gleason deserved the Tony Award she received for her portrayal of The Baker's Wife. On the video recording of this production, she only confirms this.

Chip Zien is a perfect Baker, capturing the true meekness that the character calls for.

Having performed in two productions of this musical, I can say that I have the utmost respect for these actors and their talents. They are truly terrific.

I've listened to the 2002 recording and greatly prefer 1987. I'm sure I'm biased having grown up with the '87, but it is a great buy.

Also, the video recording for the musical is a great buy if you enjoy this CD. And a fun fact: This cast of INTO THE WOODS features cast members from Sondheim and Lapine's 1984 SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Common cast members include: Bernadette Peters, Barbara Bryne (Jack's mother), Robert Westenberg (Cinderella's Prince)

This touching musical is extremely clever and meticulous in that Stephen Sondheim way. Definitely a great buy!
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