Broadways Best
 
Into The Woods stars Denis O'Hare, Amy Adams, and Donna Murphy.
Into The Woods stars Denis O'Hare, Amy Adams, and Donna Murphy.
           The Tony Award winning musical Into The Woods is soon ending its run in Cenral Park's outdoor Delacorte Theatre, where the show was finally able to be seen in the closest NYC can offer to woods, where the show is set. But don't be fooled by the name, Into The Woods is, although serious, nothing scary at all. It is a fun, enjoyable, well written musical. Here the show may not be close to as good as the original, but it still is quite enjoyable. There are some issues with the show though, starting with the lead. Denis O'Hare plays the lead male, The Baker. He cannot sing well, in fact he was mostly flat and his voice sounded rough the whole show. Not only that but every line he says seems as if the show is a waste of his time. It seems as if he doesn't care the entire show. Not at any moment did I care if he got his child or not, and never was a scene as interesting as it should and could have been when he was onstage. He was sloppy, annoying, and overall, un-talented. I would rather see the horrific acting of Nick Jonas anyday, and that is not a good thing. Luckily he has a pretty good cast with him, with a few stand outs. To start, I surprisingly liked Amy Adams when I had low expectations for her. She is the type of person who already has the motherly feel that her part called for. Sure a lot of people would have been better choices, but I don't cast these shows. She was a little weak on her acting and singing skills but she was enjoyable to watch anyway beacuse no matter if anything she did was bad she went with it anyway and it showed energy, especially a thousand times more than her co-star Denis O'Hare's performance. The standout performances came from Jessie Mueller as Cinderella, Sarah Stiles as Little Red Ridinghood, and the two princes. Gideon Glick as Jack was also very good, although he could have been better, but it's such a great, fun, well written part there's no way you can't like his performance in the role. Donna Murphy as the witch was also a stand out although upstaged by far by the two previously mentioned actresses. Then again, with her part there was no way to upstage the other two. The show is oddly staged, and I can't say I agree with everything in the show though. To begin with, the action is staged more toward the left leaving the right side of the audience (where I was sitting) a little farther from the action. Not only that, but the theatre is partially in the round, and this wasn't very well accommodating for that situation. The second act staging is a lot better than the firsts, and if the first act could be any more like the second act in staging, the show would be better. The second act just has that fearsome, innovative, creative, spookiness that Into The Woods already has in its script in both acts a lot more than the first act. The lighting of the show was definitely a stand out thing for me. There were shadows of trees across the floor of the stage, which, for anyone who has ever been in a forest or the woods or a tree populated area, gives the feel of a real forest where there are shadows everywhere and it's always sort of spooky and mysterious. The set, a many tiered set with exits and entrances on every tier, is fantastic. It is innovative, useful, original, and helps the story move along as the story weaves through the many tiers in seamless transition as we never wait for entrances, the people are already there ready in a different spot on the stage. Never does the show stop and never does the set change other than moving a few things like a branch and flowers and putting umbrellas up for the beanstalk. The stage is also covered in wood chips to give it the feel of the forest, a perfect effect, achieving exactly its goal. There is also a swing (or are there two I can't remember) where certain things happen in the play. The swing has nothing to do with any of the show, but it fits perfectly in, and it works in an odd way. Then we have the giant. Unlike in past productions, we see the giant, who is created by actors holding up face pieces and two other actors holding up separate hands, all jumbo sized. Although the effect is cool, the giant look they designed just seems too nice to me. For a giant that kills people, it looks as if it would never hurt a fly, but the effect is still very cool. The show is original in the fact that it modernizes what the show was written as by making the narrator a young boy running away from home and camping in the woods, and by making all the characters look different. For example, in this production Little Red looks like a skater-chic, the Baker and his wife look like Victorian era people, and the witch looks like a tree, just to name a few examples. Then again it has many normal looking characters like the princes, Rapunzel, and many others. The show is a great show in the script and music already and this production really adds some of the woods feel by putting it in a forest like area. So, it could be better, but outdoors really puts a few limits but also a few things you can't do indoors. If you can, catch this show before it closes next week. The show was, truly, an interesting journey into the woods.




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