6/20/02
Talkin' BroadwayV.J.



Into the Words
by Katie Paul


A few weeks ago the much lauded Into the Woods opened on Broadway to terrific notices and critical acclaim. In addition to the professional reviewers from the New York media, there were 35 high school journalists in attendance, all participating in an exciting program sponsored by Dodger Theatrical Holdings. Each student has been specially chosen to pen a review of the show which was judged by a panel of professionals. Talkin' Broadway is pleased to publish the winning review, written by Katie Paul.

Rarely does a musical come along that captures the essence of the human soul and social consciousness. Stephen Sondheim has indeed accomplished the near-impossible in his inspirational treasure "Into the Woods," revived in a fitting celebration of its original wit and emotional depth.

The greatness of this show comes not in spectacular individual performances, nor does it come in awe-inspiring sets, costumes, or choreography. Its genius lies in its pure, genuine message of hope in even the most dire circumstances. The themes presented via the characters' shared catastrophic experiences are as relevant today as they were fifteen years ago, when the show made its debut. As is the case with any revival, comparison with the original production is inevitable. Fortunately, this show seems to retain the same ingenuous charm that made it so successful in its original form.

James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim add a hilariously endearing version of Milky White, portrayed in all her glory by a human, as well as a clever bit with the witch's staff. They also focus the audience's attention on the dramatically poignant moments of the play, resulting in a clearer, more fully realized catharsis.

This new production seems to have it all: comedy, drama, family fun, mature examinations of life and death. Everything is at your fingertips as you explore and discover, along with the characters, the secrets of the deepest recesses of your own heart. Be sure to catch the meaning behind the madness, the allegorical statements of intrigue that lie underneath the flippant gestures and facetious remarks. Admire the wit, the charm, and the intrigue, but be sure to understand the lessons. They are worth learning.

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