When I told the kiddos were going to go see Into the Woods, they had no idea what I was talking about. So I rattled off the fairy tale characters they would see in the play, and Nugget asked, “so it’s a Disney movie?” Um… not quite.
Today I loaded them into the car, still confused, and we headed to Broadway Rose. If you’re not familiar with the story, a variety of characters from familiar fairy tales- Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack (commonly associated with a beanstalk), princes, etc., come to life in all their flawed glory. In the first act, they find their happily ever after. In the second act, they face the consequences for their decisions and their actions. While the first act is fun and silly and definitely fairy tale-esque, the second act is much darker. And some of those happily ever afters start to unravel. Just like poor Rapunzel’s mental health.
This show is simply amazing. The set is simple but effective, the cast is beyond talented, and a single piano player plays the entire score by himself- on stage. The props are delightfully and intentionally campy- a wooden harp that doesn’t play music, wooden farm animals wheeled around on wooden bases, etc. There’s humor, intelligence, silliness, and life lessons all wrapped up in songs and music that will stick with you long after you leave the theater.
While I was probably the biggest fan of the three of us, Chicken and Nugget both enjoyed the show. Chicken was frequently on the edge of her seat, and Nugget really loved the cow. I know. A lot of the humor was over their head, but they both giggled at different parts and remained engaged for the entire performance.
There are a few instances of sexual innuendo as well as implied violence. However, most of the violence takes place off stage or is lightened in some way- like the use of long red ribbons to represent blood. It could still be scary for young kids with active imaginations, though. Poor Nugget really thought one of the step-sisters was getting a toe cut off each show. He was relieved to have that cleared up!
The show runs about 3 hours, including an intermission. The length of the show and the relative darkness of the second half may not make it the perfect introduction to theater for young children. Older children (upper elementary school and above) will likely love it.
What it’s not: appropriate for young children who can’t sit for a 3 hour production or who may be traumatized by some of fairy tale characters meeting an unpleasant demise
What it is: funny, engaging, full of incredible acting and singing, a twist on classic stories and finding a new happily ever after
Do we recommend it? For older children, definitely! It’s a really fun and well done show and I’m very glad we went!
The show runs through June 30. You can find tickets here: https://www.broadwayrose.org/into-the-woods