"Into the Woods" is a musical -- though you wouldn't necessarily know that from watching the recently released teaser trailer for Disney's big-screen adaptation.
The movie, opening on Christmas, is based on the stage musical written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine that debuted at the Old Globe in San Diego and transferred to Broadway in 1987. But the teaser features no songs or any shots of actors singing, providing instead a showcase for visual effects, a creepy forest and Meryl Streep as a witch.
Based on characters from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, "Into the Woods" follows a series of intertwining stories as characters pursue their personal wishes ("I wish..."). The Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including prizes for Sondheim, Lapine and actress Joanna Gleason, who played the Baker's wife, a role played by Emily Blunt for the movie.
Sondheim recently created a stir when he was quoted in a New Yorker magazine article saying that Disney had changed the fate of some of the musical's characters. But the songwriter later issued a statement reported in Playbill and other outlets saying that his collaboration with the filmmakers was an amicable one.
For those curious to hear Sondheim's songs performed live, a revival of "Into the Woods" is running at the Old Globe through Aug. 17. The staging, by the Fiasco Theater, makes innovative use of minimal props and musicians, and was described in a review by Times Theater Critic Charles McNulty as "inventive" though the musical's shortcomings "are still apparent."
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