So, my family and I saw Into the Woods at the Old Globe last night. (And met despairoftranslators…

So, my family and I saw Into the Woods at the Old Globe last night. (And met despairoftranslators before, yay!) I was just a little worried going in; it’s one of my favorite musicals, and pretty much every review made a point of mentioning that Fiasco Theater’s re-imagined production was sometimes lacking in singing talent.

It so didn’t matter.

It’s like this. When I see a beautiful landscape by Monet, I don’t stop to catalog all the ways it falls short of being a beautiful landscape by Van Gogh. Each is its own thing; each takes my breath away.

This production took my breath away.

Sondheim’s music was all there. There were beautiful sung passages, and yeah, some of the actors were noticeably better singers than others, but it was never even slightly a problem. And there was so much imagination in the staging, such vibrant and engaging acting, that I was carried along on the story.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who might have a chance to see it (and I appreciate that the reviewers I read kept me unspoiled for some of the best pieces of staging). But there were parts that worked SO WELL. I mean, the audience had to do some work from their end, but that’s true in every production I’ve ever seen; you don’t put a forest and a tower and a singing wolf and conversing birds and a beloved cow and a giant (!) on a theater stage without some willing suspension of disbelief. But in re-imagining those elements, Fiasco elevated the experience in a way that didn’t just equal the big, professional productions I’ve seen. It exceeded them. I mean, literally. Literally literally. I’m still boggling about that.

But those creative choices were just means to an end, and it was the overall result that has stayed with me. It was a beautiful, unique realization of Sondheim’s and Lapine’s musical, and anyone who loves that sort of thing owes it to themselves to see it.

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Tags: into the woods, fiasco theater, old globe theatre, Sondheim, musical theater, that is beautiful and amazing.

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