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  Into the Woods at Writers Theatre

Into the Woods

Writers Theatre
325 Tudor Court Glencoe

When a childless baker and his wife set out to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods, they encounter Jack (with his beanstalk), Cinderella (and her prince) and Little Red Riding Hood (and her wolf)! These familiar characters find themselves in decidedly unfamiliar circumstances and must brave the darkness of the woods in an effort to break the curse, conquer their fears and find out if what they've always wished for is what they truly want.

Thru - Sep 29, 2019

Price: $35-$80

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 847-242-6000

Running Time: 2hrs, 45mins; one intermission

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  Into the Woods Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Those of us who’ve seen this piece loads of times tend to look most for depth and resonance, and that arrives here from Michael Mahler, who plays the Baker and, notably, from McKinley Carter, who plays the mother of Jack, in turn a role very beautifully sung by Ben Barker. Some in the cast, such as Lucy Godinez as Little Red Riding Hood and Cecilia Iole, who plays Rapunzel, the Gwyneth Paltrow of this story, offer more humorous characterizations, as those characters demand. There’s very witty work from Alex Benoit and Ryan McBride, both offering meditations on the pleasures and perils of handsome princes."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...At the center of this carousel of characters is Bethany Thomas as The Witch. Thomas is magnificent; there’s a trace of the primal Eve – maybe Lilith is more apt – about her, whether it’s manifesting as a Halloween store costume hag or purple-cloaked royalty. “The Last Midnight” flares like heat lightning. “Children Will Listen” has the tone of a last plea. And despite her ferocity, you realize the Witch isn’t that that different from most parents."
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Catey Sullivan

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...Indeed, like many Grimm Brothers' tales, "Into the Woods" is rooted in heartbreak, betrayal, disappointment and death. The characters -- a vengeful witch, charming princes, disobedient children -- are flawed people whose happily-ever-afters didn't turn out as they expected. Selfish, greedy and desperate, their (mostly) good intentions (often) lead them to make bad choices that more often than not end in tragedy. Yet, as "Into the Woods'" penultimate number reminds us, no one is alone. Love endures. And these days especially, that's something worth remembering."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The cast is mind-blowingly good, but special attention must be paid to Bethany Thomas's Witch, who turns "Stay With Me" into a fierce, heartrending ode to mother love (even if her path to motherhood involves kidnapping), and whose transformation from Halloween crone to glam siren in Mara Blumenfeld's clever costumes is entrancing. Michael Mahler and Brianna Borger as the Baker and the Baker's Wife subtly show how wistfulness curdles into resentment in long-term relationships. Alex Benoit and Ryan McBride, the princes to Rapunzel and Cinders, respectively, provide all the self-satisfied comic relief one could want as upper-class twits."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...The woods are as menacing as ever, but the production of “Into the Woods,” the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical fairy tale currently running at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, is utterly luminous."
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Wynne Delacoma

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...In The Woods is an exceptional night of theater with a great story about life when things don't end happily ever after. Each character learns that their endings don't remain happy; however, they move on with their lives learning one crucial lesson; that no one is really alone."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Once upon a a northern suburb called Glencoe, a theater was built by a young man from England. His name was Michael and he had a dream. It was to create a very special theater where the highest quality of productions would fill its stage ( then stages). They called it Writers Theatre. That was more than 25 years ago, and Michael is still coming up with new concepts to make this theater the top of the heap. Michael Halberstam is a genius! That being said, here is my review of their latest production, "Into The Woods"."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Contrary to what the 2014 Disney film would have you believe, this isn’t a Disneyfied musical. Stuff goes wrong: some people die, others contemplate murder. Vengeance and greed rules, until it doesn’t. This is a fairy tale for the modern age that has aged well. It encourages us to reach beyond our boundaries, learn from our mistakes, appreciate one another, accept that life is finite and recognize that everything (and everyone) matters. Coming from the man who dedicated an entire musical to presidential assassins, these are lessons worth (re)learning."
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Amanda Finn

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...“Into the Woods,” with a book by James Lapine that interweaves (in a decidedly adult way) the quests of characters drawn from a slew of familiar fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, has become one of Sondheim’s most popular works. Yet it is nothing at all like the often simplistic, wide-eyed Disney versions of those tales."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Beautiful to look at and brimming with gorgeous songs, Gary Griffin opens a new season at Writers Theatre with this wonderfully magical, immersive musical. Filled with moments of sly naughtiness (“Hello, Little Girl”), hilarious hyperbole (“Agony”), new lessons to be learned (“I Know Things Now”), and old lessons that bear repeating (“Children Will Listen,” “No One is Alone”), this glorious production of Sondheim’s most enchanting masterpiece will charm the child out of the most hardened adult. As the Baker’s Wife sings, “That’s what woods are for: for those moments in the woods.” “Ever After,” each theatergoer will relish his own trip through this enchanted forest, taking home the lessons and memories gleaned from those moments spent in these bewitching woods."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...The Writers revival is so well staged and performed that it almost entirely masks the musical’s chief faults—the show is too long, the score and the book often don’t connect, the humor is sometimes sophomoric, and the sentimentality is too gooey. But in the presence of all the talent on stage and behind the scenes at the Writer, even the most unyielding Sondheim resister has to concede that this is an exceptional artistic achievement."
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Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...Music Director Matt Deitchman adds multiple spellbinding moments thru song. The commanding Bethany Thomas belts out a haunting “Stay with Me.” The dashing duo of Ryan McBride and Alex Benoit are hysterical singing about the perils of being charming. McBride and Brianna Borger also find the cheeky fun in “Any Moment” followed by Borger’s beautifully earnest “Moments in the Woods.” Michael Mahler and Ximone Rose lead the heart-tugging “No one is alone.” And then there’s the show stopping “Children will listen” finale done to perfection. It certainly makes for a happy yet poignant ending."
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...Flawlessly cast and directed by the masterful Gary Griffin, this production is set in the round, making for a more intimate storytelling experience at Writers’ gorgeous Glencoe main stage. That’s accentuated by impeccable backstage work from Scott Davis (woodsy set), Christopher M. LaPorte (brilliant lighting), Lee Fiskness (clear sound), Rachel Watson (interesting props) and Mara Blumenfeld (gorgeous costumes), among a host of other top-notch professionals."
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Barry Reszel

The Hawk Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Overall, aside from a heavy-handed directional decision at the play’s end (a very literal take on “Children Will Listen”), this production is a wish come true. Writers Theatre features a new take on a familiar favorite, and this production showcases one of the finest Chicago ensembles in recent memory. You've never been in woods quite like these."
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Emily Schmidt

Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Broadway and Chicago veteran director Gary Griffin has chosen a theater-in-the-round approach something akin to Marriott Theatre for this production. The woods basically hung from the ceiling like Southern live oaks except the main tree, surrounded by patrons, sits and spreads where the stage usually was and hostsed piano/conductor Charlotte Rivard-Hoster who was terrific as was a fine percussion and woodwinds accompaniment."
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Jodie Jacobs

Storefront Rebellion - Highly Recommended

"...Director Gary Griffin, who’s helmed eight Sondheim productions over the past two decades at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (including sublime renditions of theatrical landmarks Sunday in the Park with George and Follies), heads north to Glencoe for this entry in the composer’s canon. Staged in-the-round in Writers Theatre’s Nichols space, Griffin’s new production shoots to the top of the list of my many walks through the Woods."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Writers Theatre’s Into the Woods is unlike any version of the play you’ve ever seen, but it retains both the playful and emotional elements that mark this musical as special. In all aspects—acting, music, directing, design—it reinforces and imaginatively reinvents the play in ways that will appeal to both those new to the show and those who have seen it a dozen times. It’s a magical piece of theatre."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...At every dramatic twist and comical turn, Griffin taps into our inner aspirations and the hope we share that in the face of adversity, everything will turn out the way we planned. This show asks, “What will happen when our wishes really do come true?” and, “When there is no longer someone to help us tell our story, how do we confront and overcome the darker, challenging threats to our existence and begin again?” The answer to these profound questions lies in our understanding that we are a community of human beings who must work together to survive. And in these woods, we cannot do it alone."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Sondheim and Lapine weave multiple critical themes into their story and this production – narrated by Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam -- realizes them beautifully. Michael Mahler and Brianna Borger as the Baker and Baker’s Wife are a warring, loving, evolving couple from start to finish. Ximone Rose’s Cinderella is nobody’s fool and Ryan McBride as her self-absorbed Prince eventually acquires a scrap of self-knowledge. For this viewer, Bethany Thomas as the Witch and Lucy Godinez as Little Red push a bit too hard in their respective roles. Nonetheless, the cast functions as a satisfying unit."
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Susan Lieberman

  Into the Woods Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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