Did you ever wonder what happened to fairy tale characters after “They lived happily ever after”? Into the Woods offers the answer: true happiness can’t last forever. The first act tells the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and also features elements of other stories. The second act explains what happens later in the tales of these characters. Cinderella’s prince has a wandering eye (“I was raised to be charming, not sincere”), Jack’s giant has a wife who’s out for revenge, and it becomes very important to the character’s to determine who is to blame for the situation. The play is in turns humorous and poignant, as the characters learn that they must be careful what they wish for.
Into the Woods is filled with humor and clever dialogue, and the characters are dynamic, being given much more depth than in the traditional tales. No one is safe in this play, not even the narrator, who is overthrown by the characters themselves in the middle of the second act. Despite his claim that he is needed to complete the story, the witch argues, “Some of us don’t like the way you’ve been telling it”. Without the narrator, the characters must find their own way to the ending. Sondheim and Lapine have created a wonderful musical which is both touching and very entertaining!