“I was raised to be charming, not sincere.” – Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods”
I know, I know….musicals aren’t considered your typical geeky material but as a huge Broadway fan I tend to geek out about them quite a bit.
Let’s take “Into the Woods” for example. I’ve been in love with this musical for over 12 years and I never fail to be amazed by Sondheim’s brilliance. The musical gathers several different fairytales and links them together in one plot. These are the fairytales that still have the blood and violence (such as cutting off toes and heels to fit the slipper in the Cinderella story) and yet both kids and adults can enjoy the show. The first act is lighthearted with some serious moments but still very cheery. The second act is the darker act, as it is for many musicals. This is where the adults will often find another layer of meaning in the story.
The musical covers a range of topics from growing up and out of childhood to love and betrayal to wishes and the consequences of those wishes and what you did to get them.
The music is catchy and features some of the best moments of characters all singing different things at once but still fitting the music. Sondheim is a master of such things, IMHO. I often find that certain songs get stuck in my head extremely easily and I’ll go around singing them for days.
There is a recording of the Broadway performance from 1989 that is on DVD (though I still have it on VHS) that I often show to friends. Many familiar names are in it such as Joanna Gleason, Chuck Wagner and Bernadette Peters. I highly recommend nabbing a copy of this (it’s on Netflix) and checking it out. Remember, even if you think the first act is a bit too cheesy and meant for kids, at least give the second act a try as it’s definitely darker in tone.
There are wonderfully hilarious moments thrown in at random points that never fail to make me crack up. The two Princes and their interactions with each other are some of my favorite parts. Also, the Big Bad Wolf’s costume in the video is one that will make you look twice and wonder what they were thinking when creating that outfit (think anatomically correct and fuzzy…I kid you not).
My friend Amanda and I sang along with most of the video when we showed it to a group of friends. Hopefully they got a kick out of us singing “Agony” (a duet between Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince). By the end of the show we were all in agreement that we wanted to hear and see Nathan Fillion sing the part of Cinderella’s Prince and debated who would be a good counterpart for him as Rapunzel’s Prince. My votes go to Neil Patrick Harris and James Marsters. I think either of them have the ability to pull off that part.
So, once you’ve checked it out, come back and let me know what you think. I’m going to poke at Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) and Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) on Twitter and see if we can convince them to do a duet of “Agony”!