Los Angeles Theater Preview: INTO THE WOODS (Fiasco Theatre at the Ahmanson)

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by Tony Frankel on March 21, 2017

in Theater-Los Angeles,Tours


When I first saw Fiasco Theatre’s production of Into the Woods, it was without reservation that I told friends it was worth the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego’s Old Globe. Now, there is no excuse. Uniquely the most emotionally hard-hitting of any of the dozen or so productions I’ve seen, I’m happy to report that I’m not the only fan. The response to this production, pared down in presentation but pumped up in palpable passion, was so mighty that a national tour was created after its successful run at The Globe (see my review here). The next stop is Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre for a thankfully decent run, April 4 – May 14, 2017.

While I’m sure many of you caught the 2014 film, you should know this is much much better. For some strange reason, the movie producers decided to drop the reflective punch of the stage version, which robbed us of a much-needed catharsis. In Act I, a Baker and his Wife search for four objects necessary to break a witch’s curse, but Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book) mash up a slew of well-known fairy tales to tell a delightful, brand-new story, utilizing over 19 intertwining familiar characters (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, et al.) as they search for their desires among the darkness of gnarled trees.

Once the happy ending is achieved, Act II entails fairy-tale characters not unlike ourselves dealing with community responsibility in the aftermath of a disaster. By excising the Baker’s “No More” from the picture, I could only assume that the Disney studio believed a movie-going public is more comfortable with blood (chopped feet, gouged eyes) than tears (reconciling with sins of the father).

For Fiasco, the blood isn’t even the point. It’s how we react once it’s been spilt. Bring plenty of Kleenex.

photos by
Joan Marcus







Into the Woods
Fiasco Theatre Company
presented by Center Theatre Group
Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave.
April 4 – May 14, 2017
for tickets, call 213.972.4400 or visit CTG
for more info, visit Fiasco’s Into the Woods

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