Bernadette Peters

Into the Woods [Original Broadway Cast]

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AllMusic Review by

With Into the Woods, songwriter Stephen Sondheim and librettist/director James Lapine retold a group of children's stories in an intricate, moving way that worked on many levels. In the show, which opened on Broadway on November 5, 1987, and ran 764 performances before closing on September 3, 1989 (making it Sondheim's most popular work in 25 years), Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and other familiar fairy tale characters, joined by a few newly invented ones, engage in interrelated adventures. Sondheim and Lapine's interpretation is informed by child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim's book The Uses of Enchantment, and they not only retain some of the gorier aspects of the original tales, but also add adult complexities. Sondheim's score for Into the Woods is one of his most tuneful, and slyly acknowledges the melodic simplicity of the Disney movie versions of some of these fairy tales, but his lyrics are typically witty and, not infrequently, employ tongue twisters. Song highlights include Cinderella's "On the Steps of the Palace"; the two versions of "Agony," sung by two princes; and "Hello, Little Girl," sung to Little Red Riding Hood by the Wolf. An ensemble cast led by Bernadette Peters (as a witch) navigates those words well. Particularly impressive are Danielle Ferland as Little Red Riding Hood; Robert Westenberg, who plays both the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince; and Tony winner Joanna Gleason. Into the Woods succeeded in enchanting children (some of whom, it must be admitted, probably could have left after the deceptive "happy ending" that closed the first act) along with adults who understood the grown-up references. Recorded at a time when the advent of CDs was expanding the previous length limitations of albums, the original Broadway cast recording used its 69-minute running time to give a good sense of the show as a whole rather than being just a collection of musical highlights.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Into the Woods, musical play
1 11:59 Amazon
2 1:13 Amazon
3 2:34 Amazon
4 2:04 Amazon
5 1:48 Amazon
6 5:21 Amazon
7 2:28 Amazon
8 2:49 Amazon
9 2:42
10 2:34
11 2:20 Amazon
12 3:49
13 2:17
14 2:04 Amazon
15 4:58 Amazon
16 4:46 Amazon
17 4:17 Amazon
18 3:57 Amazon
19 5:12 Amazon
20 1:56 Amazon
21
feat: Kim Crosby
2:31 Amazon
22 2:36 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick