While I was in New York performing Avenue Q on Broadway, I had an audition for a revival of another Sondheim musical “Putting it Together” and had the opportunity to sing for the man himself…Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. It was an experience I shall not soon forget.
ALONE can mean solitude. ALONE can mean being alone even in a crowded room. ALONE can also mean being in an involuntary state of existence. ALONE is a theme and through line often used in classic Sondheim pieces.
Into the Woods is THE classic Sondheim musical and has been on Broadway twice where the “Witch” has been portrayed by such heavyweights as Bernadette Peters, Cleo Laine, Phylicia Rashad, Betsy Joslyn, Nancy Dussault, Ellen Foley and Vanessa Williams in the 2002 revival.
Having never seen the original or revival, I was eager with anticipation. Mostly because for the screen version…yes ladies and gentleman it is Meryl Streep as the “Witch” and she has freaking done it again!!!! Is there anything this woman is NOT capable of??!! Singing Sondheim is no easy task, yet Streep does so with the greatest of ease and is compelling to watch. As much as I love Meryl though, I would’ve loved to have seen Vanessa or Phylicia have a go at it.
Having said that, most of the time when Hollywood adapts these musicals, there is always a weak link in the cast. The onscreen cast of Into The Woods is strong as steel from the youngest cast member, Lilla Crawford, to the fantabulous Meryl Streep. Their singing and acting are superb and they never skip a beat.
Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood), Chris Pine (Prince Charming), Emily Blunt (The Baker’s Wife), Christine Baranski (Stepmother) were my favs and had a variety of scene stealing moments.
I was not ALONE when I burst into applause and laughter doing this film, nor will I be ALONE in the multitude of opinions that will come in the midst of INTO THE WOODS’ nationwide release on Christmas Day.
Watch it, take the kids, relive those classics tales once more through a different a pair of eyes and imagine what would happen if their outcome was somehow tweaked. You’ll be happy you did.