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Review | Into The Woods by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim

Title: Into The Woods
Author: James Lapine & Stephen Sondheim
Genre: Theater/Play
Publisher: Theatre Communications Group
Publication: 12/23/2014 first published in 1987
Read: January 2020
Format: Print
Pages: 140
Rating: 4 Caffeinated Stars
Trigger Warnings: Cheating, murder, dark humor & inaccurate use of the word rape

Goodreads Summary:

Experience the original musical from Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which is now a major motion picture from Disney, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and Johnny Depp, and directed by Rob Marshall.

Winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Score

“It is that joyous rarity, a work of sophisticated artistic ambition and deep political purpose that affords nonstop pleasure.” – William A. Henry III, Time

Into the Woods brings to musical life Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel and other well-known fairy-tale characters. Interwoven with these classic tales is the story of the baker and his wife, whose longing for a child is thwarted by the mischievous witch who lives next door. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine have fashioned a modern musical classic which has been performed countless times all over the world since its Tony Award-winning debut in 1987. Sondheim’s songs, seamlessly melded into Lapine’s text, are perfect expressions of character and action, which reflect the complications of living in modern society and the difficult choices we encounter on the paths of our lives. Into the Woods is now brought vividly to life for the first time on screen by director Rob Marshall, the filmmaker behind the Academy Award-winning musical Chicago.

Includes eight full-color pages of photographs from the movie.

Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy, and the complete scores (music and lyrics) for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumInto the WoodsCompanyA Little Night MusicFolliesSunday in the Park with GeorgeAssassinsPassionPacific Overtures, and Sweeney Todd, among others. He has won seven Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and many other honors.

James Lapine wrote the book for and directed the musicals Into the WoodsPassion, and Sunday in the Park with George (all with scores by Stephen Sondheim) and FalsettosA New BrainMuscles, and Little Miss Sunshine (all with scores by William Finn). He has written and directed numerous plays, and has received three Tony Awards, five Drama Desk awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Please note that this is the script of the original musical from which the film was adapted, not the film’s screenplay.

My Thoughts:

I’ve owned the play transcription of Into The Woods for about five years now, but I never seemed to find the time to read it. This was one of the three picks I pulled out of my TBR jar for the Clearing The Hoard Bookwyrm Challenge I created. I couldn’t pick what book, but this book was mentioned in David Levithan’s newest book, 19 Love Songs, so my choice was easy to make.

"Into the woods to get the thing that makes it worth the journeying." - Into the Woods by James Lapine & Stephen Sondheim

I first picked this book up right before the movie adaption was released. I was planning on reading it after I saw the movie, but then it sat on my shelf gathering dust. I finally picked up the play script, and I’m glad that I did. I will say, I’m so happy that I saw the movie before I read the script because that meant I was able to see the humor that was present.

 "And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers. 
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good." - Into the Woods by James Lapine & Stephen Sondheim

This play is not your typical disneyfied fairytale. It’s dark, outrageous, and will make you do a double-take at times. I’m glad that I went back and read this script because it brought back the joy and amusement I felt when watching the play.

"No, what matters is that
Everyone tells tiny lies –
What's important, really, is the size." - Into the Woods by James Lapine & Stephen Sondheim

This play is not going to be for everyone, but if you enjoy the social commentary and dark humor, it might be the perfect fit for you. All in all, I enjoyed it, and I need to make sure to listen to the soundtrack for the thousandth time.

Want to give this script a read? Here are the buy links!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Goodreads

Cover of book alongside the quote  "And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers. 
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good." - Into the Woods by James Lapine & Stephen Sondheim
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22 thoughts on “Review | Into The Woods by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim

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  1. So I’ve heard about this play/movie/book a ton but honestly never gave it any thought. Based on your thoughts, it sounds like I need to see the movie first!

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