Into the Woods at Nederlander Theatre in Chicago

The critically acclaimed and beloved Broadway adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning show, Into the Woods, is set to have a run in Chicago in 2023. Starring Montego Glover as The Witch, Stephanie J. Block as The Baker's Wife, Sebastian Arcelus as The Baker and Gavin Creel as Cinderella's Prince/Wolf reprising their original Broadway roles, the limited engagement will run from Tuesday, April 25 to Sunday May 7, 2023 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre.

Directed by Lear deBessonet and with music supervision from Rob Berman and choreography from Lorin Latarro, the highly anticipated production of Into the Woods is dedicated to Stephen Sondheim's memory.

Into the Woods had its debut on Broadway in 1987, earning three Tony Awards, including Best Score and Best Book. Since then, it has been seen all over the world, and was even adapted into a movie in 2014. After selling out performances at New York City Center Encores! in May 2022, Into the Woods transferred to Broadway for a limited run, beginning in July 2022. The production was met with great acclaim and high demand from audiences, resulting in two extensions before it is scheduled to close on January 8, 2023.

The main characters in Into the Woods are featured from various Brothers Grimm fairy tales, such as "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Rapunzel" and "Cinderella". The story follows a childless baker and his wife on their quest to start a family and their struggle with breaking a witch's curse. During their journey, they interact with other storybook characters as well. The musical explores the consequences of these characters' wishes and quests.

The themes of the show include parent-child relationships, individual responsibility to the community and moral ambivalence. Time Magazine reviewers noted that this play illustrates how most fairy tales are about the complicated relationship between parents and children. Troubles often arise from a failure of parental or filial duty despite good intentions. Stephen Holden argued that even the unpleasant characters may have the most honest things to say. As expressed by the Witch: "I'm not good; I'm not nice; I'm just right." These messages are core to the show's exploration of wish fulfillment and its consequences.

By focusing on the power of responsibility and moral ambiguity, this production encourages deep reflection on the consequences of our choices. The themes are explored in a unique and captivating way, leaving audiences with a lasting impression long after the show is over. With its blend of emotions and thought-provoking messages, it is no wonder that this musical has been met with critical acclaim.

The score of the show is particularly notable for its intricate manipulation and development of small musical motifs. The beginning words, "I wish", are set to a rising major second interval and this short melodic figure is repeated and expanded throughout the production, much like Lapine's book which examines the consequences of self-interest and "wishing". The dialogue in the show is characterized by its heavy utilization of syncopated speech. Many lines are delivered with a rhythmic beat that follows natural speech rhythms, but are also specifically composed in eighth, sixteenth, and quarter notes as part of a spoken song. As with other Sondheim/Lapine productions, the songs contain narrative which explores characters' thoughts as they speak or think aloud. Sondheim drew upon parts of his personal childhood experiences when creating the show. In 1987, he told Time Magazine that the story of "a father uncomfortable with babies" was based off of his own father and the "mother who regrets having had children" came from his mother.

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