If there’s one musical I’d really stand behind it’s Into the Woods. I’ve only seen the 1991 televised version starring Bernadette Peters (as the witch) and Joanna Gleason (as the baker’s wife), but I had it recorded on VHS and watched it constantly. I forced others to watch it with me. And, FYI, this was long after becoming cynical about treacly song and dance theater.
UM’s production of the musical opens tonight and runs through Sunday. The show is directed by Ann Basinski, a music and drama professor, and it incorporates students, faculty and the UM symphony, plus technical direction from MCT Community Theatre.
For those unfamiliar, Into the Woods explores the darker side of fairy tales. What happens after happily ever after? What if you get your wish and it’s not really what you'd hoped? What are the real consequences of killing a giant? That sort of thing. It’s like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West in that it’s the flipside to stories you’ve heard before. It’s a parable about loss of innocence and regret. But in a musical, fun way. Really.
Into the Woods opens at the MCT Center for Performing Arts and runs Thu., Feb. 11—Sun., Feb. 14. Show times are Thu.—Sat. at 8 PM, Sun. at 6:30 PM with Sat. and Sun. matinees at 2 PM. $20/$18 Sun. evening/$16 matinees.