Into The Woods - October 2016
Into the Woods was Mayhem's final production as the youth section of Monmouth Musical Theatre. Stephen Sondheim's whimsical musical based on our favourite fairy tales was performed at the Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls from 27th - 39th October 2016.
The musical debuted in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1987, where it won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason), in a year dominated by The Phantom of the Opera (1988). The musical has since been produced many times, with a 1988 US national tour, a 1990 West End production, a 1997 tenth anniversary concert, a 2002 Broadway revival, a 2010 London revival and in 2012 as part of New York City's outdoor Shakespeare in the Park series.
Into the Woods intertwines the plots of several fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The main characters are Cinderella (the daughter of a wealthy man who has been reduced by her wicked stepmother and stepsisters into becoming their skivvy and wishes to attend the King's festival), Jack (a simple poor boy who wishes that his cow, Milky White, would give milk), and a Baker and his Wife who wish they could have a child. It turns out that the baker's fertility has been cursed by his neighbour - a wicked witch who caught the Baker's father stealing from her garden and stole his daughter Rapunzel. The curse can only be lifted if the Baker and his Wife retrieve four ingredients for a potion to give the witch beauty and youth - "the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold," all before the chime of midnight in three days' time.
While Little Red Ridinghood wishes for bread from the Baker to take to her grandmother's house, which they reluctantly give, Jack's weary mother, who wishes for gold, nags him into selling the cow, and Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda tease her about wanting to attend the King's festival. All begin their journeys into the woods — Jack goes to the market to sell his beloved pet Milky White, Cinderella's family goes to the Festival while Cinderella goes to her mother's grave to ask for guidance, Little Red goes to her grandmother's house, and the Baker, refusing his wife's help, goes to find the ingredients.
Chaos ensues as the characters interact and tragedy after tragedy is inflicted on the group until only Jack, the Baker, Cinderella and Little Red Ridinghood remain. The Baker begins to tell the story using the same words as the narrator did at the beginning of the play as the Witch appears with the final moral: "Careful the things you say, Children Will Listen." All join in on a last reprise of the title song, surmising that we all must venture into the Woods while remembering the choices we've made and learning from each endeavor we come across ("Finale"). As the characters conclude the song singing, "Into the woods, and out of the woods and happily ever after", Cinderella closes the show with one last "I wish..."