Remember classic fairy tale characters like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood? “Into the Woods” is a musical that follows their stories but adds a few twists and turns.
About the show
“Into the Woods” is a 1987 musical by the late Steven Sondheim. The plot intertwines the stories of several classic Grimm Brothers fairytales like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and more. The musical has several Tonys and a Grammy under its belt.
A film adaptation of the same name was made in 2014.
Though the theme is based on fairy tales, this play isn’t just “once upon a time” and “happily ever afters.” The play also offers some somber moments and lots of humor. I laughed throughout the entire show.
The musical is playing at Belk Theater in Charlotte through this weekend.
Choosing a Favorite
No fairytale is complete without a good villain or — in musicals – a good villain song.
My favorite song from “Into The Woods” was the witch’s solo “Last Midnight.” The witch is often the bad guy in fairy tales, but her ballad in “Last Midnight” humanizes her character and even invokes some sympathy from the audience.
And the raw power of Montego Glover’s voice as the witch makes the song more emotional.
Many of the songs the in the show seemed to have a similar melody, but Glover’s solo was different. Where many of the characters sang more upbeat songs, this ballad stood out.
What I didn’t expect
Remember when I said I laughed throughout the show? I wasn’t the only one. “Into the Woods” kept the audience laughing from start to finish.
The humor comes not just from the tightly written script — every part of the plot wraps up with no loose ends — but also from the delivery of the actors.
There’s also a lot of self-aware humor throughout the play, like Cinderella’s series of falls. The character has several scenes running through the woods and trips each time. Eventually, the character — who is aware of the upcoming fall — gracefully lays on the floor as a nod to the upcoming fall.
Another thing that surprised me was that the orchestra was on stage with the characters. Watching the musicians play the music in real time as the characters sang was a special treat that added to the experience.
What I wish was different
After seeing shows like “Beetlejuice” and “Les Miserables,” I was excited to see what the backdrops and stage settings would be like.
However, much of the settings in this show are left to the imagination.
Aside from a few (very impressive) on-stage props, the play doesn’t offer much visual variation from scene to scene, especially since, as the name implies, much of the play takes place in the woods.
“Into the Woods” offers a story that seamlessly combines its many plotlines and characters.
All of the fun musical numbers and clever humor work together with the more heartfelt moments, like the ending and climax.
It also bought back that nostalgic feeling of being read stories and fairytales as a kid.
Unlike Beetlejuice, this show is appropriate for families.
Drink(s) of the night
For this show, I had a Rum and Pineapple and a Cosmopolitan.
Sadly there was no themed drink for this play, which felt like a letdown to me because there were so many opportunities for a fun drink name. I came up with at least three while waiting in line.
The “Happily Ever After,” the “Last Midnight,” the “Beanstalk?”
Do any mixologists out there want to recommend recipes? Send them to me at email@example.com.
If you go
- Location: Belk Theater
- Dates: April 13– April 16
- Prices: $30-$120
- Tickets: Purchase on the website.