Not every fairy tale ends with a happily ever after. At least that’s the notion presented in Into the Woods, an enchanting musical that intertwines several classic Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales.
Favorite stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood combine with a newly created magical tale: The Baker and His Wife. Accompanied by award-winning music by Stephen Sondheim, the blended fables will not only charm younger viewers but also will probe profound issues mature audiences can appreciate, such as child rearing and questions of morality.
In fact, the musical’s title and setting of “being in the woods” serve as a metaphor for going through dark times and facing problems that unfortunately can’t be solved by Prince Charming’s kiss.
“Fairy tales say they all live happily ever after. This musical says there really is no happily ever after in real life. Nobody lives the perfectly happy life,” says director Victoria Bussert.
Another significant message the show presents? “Be careful what you wish for — it may not be everything you expect,” she says.
This production of Into the Woods was developed, cast, rehearsed and directed specifically for the Great Lakes Theater Festival and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and will only be performed in Cleveland and Boise. Gripping special effects, magic spells and curses abound as the musical conjures beauty and brains. “It’s a real spectacle for the eye and for the mind,” says Bussert. “It really is a thinking person’s musical.”