Way back when I was in the stage production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods.’ I played the part of Little Red, and while challenging it was also one of my favorite roles. When I found out that Disney would be making an adaptation of the stage show into a movie I was a bit nervous. Why? Well, in my opinion it is hard to capture the magic of a stage show in a movie. There is nothing like sitting back and watching live theater happen right before your eyes. That being said I was willing to put all of my hesitancy aside and go “Into the Woods,” once again.
My husband, two children and I arrived at the press screening and everyone was buzzing with excitement. Would the Hollywood actors really sound good singing Sondheim (someone whose music in the theater world is known to be notoriously hard to sing)? We were about to find out. Here are my thoughts at the conclusion of the film;
I was pleasantly surprised by Disney’s ‘Into the Woods.’ I felt the casting was well done and the actors that particularly stood out to me were Lilla Crawford (who just completed her run of ‘Annie’ on Broadway) as Little Red, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Meryl Streep (of course) as the Witch, and Emily Blunt as the Baker’s wife. The music was beautifully sung and the film flowed along nicely. The show stopper of the movie was ‘Agony’ sung by the ‘Prince Charmings,’ the whole theater was in fits of laughter throughout that song. My family really enjoyed the film-especially my two children. It was nice that so many of the people in the audience were able to enjoy beautiful music (that I am quite sure most had never heard before). I was sad that some of the musical numbers had to be cut or played over the ending credits but it’s hard to fit a whole stage show into 1 hour 24 minutes. I also noticed some of the jokes from the stage show had to be cut for a more ‘family friendly’ movie. Even so, I felt that the movie definitely did a great job in portraying the twisted fairy tale storyline that so many theater goers have come to love. Would I recommend seeing the movie version? Most definitely. Into the Woods is bringing a bit of theater-magic to a wider audience, and for that I am immensely grateful.