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Stephen Sondheim is a master of words and melody known for his musicals with a dark, dramatic edge. With music and lyrics by Sondheim, based on the book by James Lapine and directed by Peter Flynn, Into the Woods is no exception. We arrived at the historic Ford’s Theatre to find the stage has been transformed into the woods, by scenic designer Milagros Ponce de León, to host some of our favorite fairytale favorites: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack and his Beanstalk, a witch, lovelorn princes and friends.
We were invited to an adventure into a far off kingdom to find the stories of some of the most iconic fairytales reimagined. The story lines, back stories and character overlap are as frequent and complicated as those in a soap opera making it difficult to describe in linear fashion, something I discovered when asked by my 6 year old to describe the play. This twisted, comical remix provided almost 3 hours of non-stop entertainment. A baker and his wife, unable to have kids, begin a quest to reverse the curse of a witch. The witch gives the baker 3 days to collect 4 items: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold.
The couple goes into the woods, meets Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack, lovelorn princes and gathers the items just in the knick of time to reverse the curse. The baker and his wife have a son and the break for a short intermission leaves everyone in their happily ever after. Act II reveals that happily ever after is a fallacy. The characters learn some hard lessons about love, loss and relationships. The lines of good and evil are blurred as we see that ‘witches can be right, giants can be good, you decide whats right, you decide whats good’. The show raises the questions if the ends justify the means when your dreams are on the line and how we value and respect our community when faced with adversity. The finale is a poignant reminder that there is power in our actions, words and wishes. We have a responsibility, especially as parents, to respect the influence we have in shaping the people today’s children will become.
We loved the show! The lyrics and cadences of the songs combined for hilarious and witty performances. The character portrayals were deliberate in highlighting or challenging stereotypes. The set design combined with the live score and lighting effects created dynamic environments. The choreography by Michael Bobbitt was transfixing. It was exciting to see the work of one of the leaders in local children’s theatre in a different venue. The cast of this performance is outstanding! We had seen some of these amazing performers in The WIZ so we knew we were in for a treat!
We were invited to the show on the evening of my birthday, so Adventure Dad and I made it a date night. Have your own date night at one of the Special Performances of Into the Woods including: Generation Abe Night with discounts for patrons 35 or younger and Meet and Mingle for drinks after the show with cast and audience at a nearby restaurant. There is also a Sensory-Friendly performance May 11 at 2pm.
The show runs about 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission, and is recommended for children 12 years and older.
Coming soon to Ford’s Theatre: One Destiny and Investigation: Detective McDevitt explore Lincoln’s assassination. A full list of upcoming performances is available at Ford’s Theatre’s website.
511 10th St. NW Washington, DC 20004