While the country is enjoying the film adaptation of the Sondheim classic musical "Into The Woods", if you are in New York you can indulge in yet another treat currently running off-Broadway. Presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company at The Laura Pels Theatre, this woods is unlike any other you have probably seen. 10 actors (and one MD) share the story of the beloved fairy tale characters that James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim weaved together in a story back in the late 80s.
This musical has had three Broadway productions, another in Central Park, the film adaptation and numerous companies around the world have presented their version of this story. A story that goes beyond happily ever after to a much darker place when Jack (you know, the one that climbed the beanstalk), opens up a portal from the sky to the village where giants can roam freely destroying the kingdom. Or is it Jack's fault? Much blame is passed around this story from the witch to Little Red to Cinderella. Lapine and Sondheim used a baker and his wife's desire to lift a curse on their home and have a child to send them out into the woods to gather items the witch told them to fetch. And thus all the fairy tales are spun together in a beautiful score and book.
This ensemble theater is a well oiled machine, having worked together for years as graduates of the Brown University/Trinity Rep M.F.A. acting program. And it is obvious they know how to work off of each other and with each other - that is the joy of seeing an ensemble that has a history of presenting works together. One of the fascinating elements of this group is when reading the bio, so many credits are for straight plays and not musicals. You can tell they have attacked this piece as actors first (which I've always heard Sondheim say he'd prefer an actor to a singer in any of his shows). To single out any one performance would take away the beauty of what they have worked so hard to achieve. But I would tell you that you'll laugh, you'll smile, you may shed a tear, and you'll feel every glorious, frightening, enchanting moment that this remarkable team is feeling on that stage.
Catch it before it closes! You'll be so glad that you did.