Last night I went to a preview of “Into The Woods” courtesy of WSJ+ Events. I’m very glad I went, because “Into The Woods” was a great depiction of “the new social order”. I’ll try not to spoil the surprise for you, but don’t let the name “Into The Woods” fool you. It fooled all of us in the audience! At least those of us that never saw the original Broadway musical or never read the book.
The original musical was written by James Lapine with music by Steven Sondheim. It premiered on Broadway November 5, 1987 at The Martin Beck Theatre and closed September 3, 1989. It ran for 765 performances. It won Tony Awards in 1988 for Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress (Joanna Gleason) in a musical. Rumor has it that the current movie has already been nominated for Best Motion Picture, and Meryl Streep for Best Supporting Actress.
That being said, reading a write up about last night’s movie might not be a complete spoiler. There were already plot spoilers out there as far back as June of this year. I never saw the musical on Broadway. I never read the book. I learned that certain changes were made by Disney to the original plot to make it more “Disney friendly”. I can’t compare the two storylines in an informed manner. But whether or not I am able to compare the two versions isn’t the point. The point is the movie’s message and why it resonates now and not 27 years ago.
27 years ago, many more people were married and getting married. I was one of them. For a musical that got such acclaim so quickly, it also involved a storyline that was way ahead of its time. That’s probably why it didn’t last long. It didn’t stick around long enough for me to catch it. I remember it being around, but I don’t remember exactly what it was about.
The storyline in the nutshell? James Lapine combines the 4 Grimm Fairy Tales Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack in the Beanstalk, and comes out with his own “fairy tale”. It has all the elements of a fairy tale, but modernized. It demonstrates the consequences of wishes that lead to choices that lead to the consequences of those choices. The modernized part is that things don’t end perfectly or “happily ever after” as is often the case in the traditional fairy tales. Consequences aren’t the only things that we have to face today. There are also wild cards and forgotten loose ends that haven’t been “tied”. It demonstrates how we go through much more drastic life changes much more frequently now than in the past. The core plot is also “different” from traditional fairy tales. It revolves around a childless Baker and his wife, and what they do to “get” a child.
Enough said. I don’t want to give any more away. I will say, however, that the score was great, and the storyline very entertaining AND modern. The performers were well chosen, and the costumes creative. As for the cinematography, it was brilliant. If you’re into humor, modernity, and stories with a message, “Into the Woods” is for you! It opens in theaters on Christmas Day. Enjoy!
This post was originally published on the LetsBSocial Singles Community and Support Network Blog December 19, 2014.