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[Image via Bauer Griffin Online.]
The Public Theater's production of Into The Woods has gotten some very mixed reviews, but we found it to be very enjoyable - for the most part.
We had never seen the Sondheim classic before and were pleased to get to experience it for the first time in such a unique setting as Central Park.
The show is the show. We probably would have liked it better had it ended at the end of Act 1. But, Sondheim is Sondheim and though he's a genius composer and lyricist, he sure loves to be contrarian!
Woods has some very memorable music. Songs that have transcended the show. And if this production were to move to Broadway, our biggest note and we disliked the most was the casting.
Denis O'Hare as the Baker and Sarah Stiles as Little Red Ridinghood were just awful and grating, respectively in that order. We do, though, think that is the way they were directed. Piss poor choices made with their characters.
Big movie star Amy Adams was more than good as the Baker's Wife. Joanna Gleason won the Tony for that role in the original Broadway production of Woods, while Bernadette Peters was glazed over for her portrayal of the Witch.
In this revival, Donna Murphy steals the show with her Witch. She is absolutely enthralling! Vocally dynamic and her acting is superb! She alone is reason enough to catch the show - now in its final performances - if you haven't already.
Gideon Glick as Jack is the other standout in the show!
And Ellen Harvey as Cinderella's Stepmother was also thoroughly enjoyable.
Recast or rethink the Baker and Ridinghood, and send this Woods to Broadway!
P.S. If the show does transfer, Leah Loukas deserves a Tony for her inspired wig designs. And Donna Murphy too, of course!