The 2018/2019 Season

After the Show

Post-Play DiscussionInto Woods 1

Synopsis

Into the Woods weaves together the stories of some of our favorite fairytale characters—such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack—while keeping true to the darker roots of the Brother’s Grimm fairytales and other folklore origins.

The Baker and his wife, original characters written for this musical, are two of many that we meet, a couple who above all wish to have a child. The witch who lives next door appears and tells the Baker and his wife about the curse she laid on the family, and what they must seek in order to reverse it. In their quest to lift the curse they find themselves crossing paths with the others, who have also ventured into the woods in pursuit of their wish. As wishes come true, they’re forced to face the consequences of their choices, and reconsider if happily ever after is everything they hoped for.

A little bit about this musical

Into the Woods is perhaps one of legendary composer Stephen Sondheim’s best-known musicals. It premiered in 1987 and, much like the fairytales it draws from, has stood the test of the time. Many of the characters have their roots in the Brothers Grimm stories, but these stories have been told and shared throughout different cultures all over the world as far back as people could share stories. Famous scholars such as Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung believed that the sharing of folk and fairy tales was an important tradition that helped express universal truths about the human experience.

Into the Woods taps into the universality of the tales we know and love, while also diving into the darker aspects that are often glossed over. This balance of dark and light, of the known and unknown, and of our own wishes and fears, is what has helped this musical remain a staple.

Discussion questions

  • What character did you relate most to? Why?
  • What about these stories is different from the ones you remember?
  • Who do you think tells the truth, and who lies more often?
  • Do you agree with the Baker’s Wife’s suggestion that if your intentions are good it can justify bad actions?
  • What do you think these characters learned?
  • Have you ever wanted something and then been disappointed when you got it? Why do you think that is?

Download additional information about Into the Woods.