Last night (February 3rd, 2017) I saw the Fiasco Theatre’s production of Into The Woods at SUNY Purchase. This production is a very toned down Into The Woods, with an onstage orchestra made up of the actors themselves (with the exception of a piano being played by the music director on stage), in a very John Doyle-esque way. (i.e. The Sweeney Todd 2005 Broadway Revival).
When you enter the theatre, the set looks very enticing. It’s not the same style of many other productions of Into The Woods in that there is a forest. The trees are designed on the back of the stage with ropes hanging down from the ceiling, creating a three dimensional feeling that you are looking much farther back than you actually are.
At the beginning of the show, the cast comes out and asks the audience to silence all electronic devices and they all scream the iconic line “ONCE UPON A TIME…” And thus, the show begins.
The cast is perfect for their roles, and there is a stand-out performance from Evan Harrington as the Baker (The role recently played on the big screen by James Corden).
Although the cast is giving all-star performances, I felt that the staging left much to be desired. One of the key elements of the original Broadway production back in 1989 was the use of magic, costuming, and scenery to expand upon these well-known fairytales. In this dark twist of the musical, there really is not a “happily ever after” to be found. This very toned down production relies on a great script by James Lapine and an incredible score by the one and only Stephen Sondheim.
All in all, the way that I would describe this production is with the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While the staging and scenery are very underwhelming, I recommend this production to hear the wonderful music performed by an all-star cast.
A college student at SUNY Purchase, I see many shows on Broadway annually and love theatre.