Gary’s Ratings for Into the Woods (Off Broadway) is 4.6/5.
Main Cast: Neil Patrick Harris (as the Baker), Sara Bareilles (as the Baker’s wife), Denee Benton (as Cinderella), Gavin Creel (as Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince), Jordan Donica (as Rapunzel’s Prince), Ta’Nika Gibson (as Lucinda), Annie Golden (as Cinderella’s Mother and Giant’s wife), Albert Guerzon (as Cinderella’s father), Ann Harada (as Jack’s mother), David Patrick Kelly (as Narrator), Brooke Ishibashi (as Florinda), Heather Headley (as the Witch), Shereen Pimentel (as Rapunzel), David Turner (as Steward), Cole Thompson (as Jack).
Running Dates: Opening May 4, 2022, Closing May 15, 2022
Theater Location: New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street, New York, NY
Running Time: Around 2 hours and 50 minutes; one short intermission included
Tickets: Starting from $20. Buy tickets here.
Gary’s Rating Score: 4.6/5
I rate this musical highly for its outstanding production, simple yet powerful language, strong symbolism, and incredible voices. The beautiful cast has done a tremendous job of reviving a cult classic movie and book by Stephen Sondheim. If you like shows that treat the subject of bare human nature on the example of popular fairy tale characters, I highly recommend seeing this musical.
However, the musical isn’t perfect either. I may not have always appreciated how at some points it seemed like there was so much to say, but the replicas remained short. Some characters could have been better created better. But this may only be a matter of personal preference rather than a fact.
What Is Into the Woods About?
Into the Woods the musical is based on a book by Stephen Sondheim of the same name. Much like the movie from 1987, this musical includes a rich mixture of Brothers Grimm tales and seeks to explore the consequences of the wishes and quests of the characters. This musical’s ongoing theme and motto is: “Be careful what you wish for.”
In the musical, you’ll see Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and others. All these stories come together and are intertwined through one baker and his wife, who don’t have children but seek to start a family of their own. The couple interacts with a witch that places a curse on them, and this is when they begin to interact with storybook characters throughout the musical.
All in all, this is a wonderful show about how people go after their desires. The musical explains what can happen when individuals leave behind their personal wishes in order to create greater wishes for the community.
How Complex Is the Show?
I’d say this is a relatively simple show to understand when it comes to the language. The listener doesn’t have to strain to understand the message the actors send. The audience also doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the instrumentality, as is often the case in modern musical theatre.
The writer, who is one of Broadway’s greatest lyricists, uses clever, eloquent, and dramaturgic language. The words drive situation, character, and plot, and as one review states, “They cry out to be heard.”
This musical follows the “less is more” word structure and hides the essentials in little details. This means the conversations are clear and easy to understand.
When it comes to understanding a deeper meaning, this requires a bit more developed form of critical thinking.
Into the Woods the musical is suitable for children from ages four and up. If you are a parent wishing to bring a child that is not yet four years old, the theatre personnel won’t be able to admit them.
Set Design and Style of Into the Woods
The show stage for Into the Woods the musical is incredibly complex. It represents the masterpiece of some of the theatre’s greatest minds in modern history. The characters who are on the hunt for happy endings use the stage as the main location for achieving their dreams.
The lighting is lovely, and it envelops the stage and soothes the audience.
The actors wear colorful clothes that correspond with their characters. You may well be reminded of the 1930s while enjoying the show.
If you haven’t seen the movie “Into the Woods,” you should watch it before seeing the musical. This movie retelling of Brothers Grimm tales brings the same characters as the off-Broadway musical. This way, you can experience the plot and dialogues from another angle.
Chances are, you are already familiar with the plot of the legendary Beauty and the Beast. If not, this is a great show (and movie) to watch if you are after an emotional and deep plot. This show narrates how true love is the only force that can save a young prince that got trapped in a beast’s body.
Cinderella is another classic worth seeing for everyone who wishes to dive deeper into the “be careful what you wish for” philosophy. Plus, as she’s a starring character in Into the Woods, you may want to explore Cinderella’s story deeper.
Finally, the movie called “The Brothers Grimm” from 2005 narrates the story of the two brothers, Will and Jake, who travel to villages and perform exorcisms. By doing so, they pretend to protect the innocent residents from enchanted creatures. This mixture of magic, courage, and strength will allow you to better understand some of the characters from Into the Woods, as well as the story of the brothers Grimm.
A Review of the Reviews
The New York Times calls the producer’s work superb. Despite some cast changes the producer made, the humor, humanity, and wonder are intact. The review goes on to explain how the moral seriousness and giddy playfulness of the musical create a path from innocence to experience.
Most reviews claim Into the Woods to be lovable, big, and delightful. The musical features some of Stephen Sondheim’s most endearing and beautiful songs.
Deadline.com describes the show as the “transcendence of a musical theater masterpiece,” and it claims that “saying the show delivers on its promise is an understatement.”
Characters and a Little About Them
|The Baker||The baker is the main protagonist of the musical and is a very relatable and likable character. He is kind, and he works so hard to make up for the mistakes his father made so that he and his wife can be free from the curse and finally have a child.|
|Cinderella||Cinderella is a considerate and kind character that shares no interest in becoming a princess for most of the musical. She learns that her decision to get married to the Prince isn’t the best thing she ever did, for a very important reason.|
|Jack||Jack is an energetic character with a huge personality. He starts out as a lonely boy whose only friend is a cow. His confidence gradually grows, and he deals with many stressful situations throughout the story.|
|Baker’s wife||The Baker’s wife is one of the most morally and emotionally complex characters in the musical. All she wants is to be able to have a child with her husband.|
|Little Red Riding Hood||Little Red Riding Hood appears in the musical as she steals sweets from the bakery. She talks to the baker and his wife and explains that the sweets are for her grandma. She then asks for a loaf of bread and has a further discussion with the couple.|
|Jack’s mother||Jack’s mother is around 60 years old. She’s very protective of Jack, who is bold and independent.|
|Rapunzel||Rapunzel is a loopy maiden that is very much loved. The witch shelters her, but she feels terribly lonely. All she wants is to experience the world.|
About the Theatre
The Off-Broadway edition of Into the Woods takes place at the New York City Center at 131 W 55th Street, New York, NY 10019. The closest subway stations to the theater are the 57th Street station and the 7th Avenue station.
This theatre is one of the Big Apple’s grande dames, as it’s home to the Encore! Series of musicals as well as the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The theatre features 2,684 seats on two floors.
The Mainstage, Stages I and II, as well as Studio 5, all have wheelchair access for patrons with disabilities. Book your seats online, at the box office, or by phone.
Get Your Tickets
Don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy Into the Woods the musical. Bring your loved ones and enjoy this classic musical by purchasing a ticket here.