Into the Woods is one of my all-time favorite Stephen Sondheim musicals. Who doesn’t love a magical fairytale that doesn’t have a happy ending? The songs are catchy and somehow don’t feel outdated like a lot of musicals of the time. in 2014, the show was turned into a film adaptation starring Meryl Streep (Mama Miai), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Chris Pine (Dungeons & Dragons), Johnny Depp (Murder on the Orient Express), and more!
The touring production is direct from Broadway and even stars the majority of the Broadway revival cast which never happens.
The Into the Woods tour features Montego Glover as The Witch, Stephanie J. Block as The Baker’s Wife Sebastian Arcelus as The Baker, Gavin Creel as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf, and Krysta Rodriguez as Cinderella.
INTO THE WOODS IS ALMOST MINIMALIST PERFECTION
Previously, I had only seen Into the Woods in community theater productions and my own personal show singing in my car. Watching this with these incredibly talented performers proves why this musical is timeless!
I also love the minimalist set. Before the show starts, the stage is outlined by a gold frame. Which reminds me of Little Golden Books. There’s a podium made of tree branches, as well as 3 houses suspended in the air to represent locations. Jack’s Milky White cow is a puppet, and so are Cinderella’s birds, and the female giant. That’s it.
Kennedy Kanagawa stole this entire show for me as Milky White. I’ve never seen the cow have more personality, get more laughs, or be such an integral part of the show before. I applaud you!
When the characters go into the woods there are a handful of tree trunks that are dropped down onto the stage, and the screen in the back changes colors to help set the tone. I also love that the orchestra is on stage with them.
THANK YOU TO THE BROADWAY CAST FOR COMING ON TOUR
So, when I learned I could see Stephanie J. Block and Gavin Creel in this production of Into The Woods I ran to get tickets. Stephanie J. Block is a powerhouse talent. I fell in love with her back when she starring A Boy From Oz. She’s a fantastic choice for The Baker’s Wife. Her voice is powerful, and her comedic timing is unmatched. I love watching her get to play with her real-life husband, Sebastian Arelus as The Baker.
I was lucky enough to see Montego Glover in Memphis on Broadway. She was spectacular in that show. As the Witch, she does a lovely job, but the minimalist staging hinders what could be a fantastic performance. Any criticism of the role I have has nothing to do with her. There’s no magic. There’s no onstage transformation. Everything is done via pantomime, and she walks off stage to change and walks right back on. Why? I’ve seen community theater performances better than this. Flash paper, a magic trick, and an onstage costume change would’ve added so much to this role. I applaud her for her efforts to try and sell the witch’s story without any of this.
Katy Geraghty as Little Red Riding Hood is an absolute stand-out! Red is one of my favorite characters in the show, and somehow she has managed to make all the old jokes new again. All of her comedic choices were gems. Cole Thompson’s “Jack” I was unsure about in the beginning. He goes very Charlie Brown with his character choices, but by the time he begins signing, “I Guess This Is Goodbye” he had completely won me over.
If I were to be in this show, Cinderella is my dream role. Watching Krysta Rodriguez as Cinderella is a delight. She’s incredibly playful, her voice is stunning, and her performance is heartfelt.
Gavin Creel. I have had the pleasure of seeing him perform on Broadway a handful of times in Rock of Ages, as well as the Hair Revival. He is hysterical as the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince. Watching Creel is a master class in comedy. Watching him and Eddie Lopez (u/s Rapunzel’s Prince) sing Agony is such a joy. He’s such a giving actor and playful with everyone he interacts with on stage. I appreciate that this production allows the actors to stay true to the original material, while also letting them play and make it their own. It helps keep the jokes hitting harder, and not feel dated.
Into The Woods will be at the Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles from now through July 30, 2023! You can try for the $20 Raffle on TodayTix or buy your tickets online! Go see this show!