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Out of the Woods: an Update on Broadway’s Into the Woods

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

What’s going on in the woods? 

I had the pleasure of being able to see the revival of Into the Woods back on July 15th and it was truly an amazing experience. Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical returns to Broadway for an extended run after originally being slated to put on shows from June 28th to August 21st. Since the show first started, there have been constant announcements of newer closing dates and new cast. As of now, the word is that their final extension, as announced on their official social media platforms, is through January 8th, 2023. As of now, the cast stands as Brian D’arcy James returning as the Baker on October 25th (currently being played by Sebastian Arcelus) and Stephanie J. Block as Baker’s Wife. 

I have always loved live theater, whether it be a regional production, a national tour, or a full-out Broadway show, but I have never been as blown away as I have by a performance as I was seeing the revival of Into the Woods

I am sad to say that some of the only principal cast members I saw were Patina Miller, Sara Bareilles, and Phillipa Soo, with the understudies going on for Jack, Little Red, and Baker. With that being said, if I did not know who was supposed to be playing those characters, I would have had no idea that the performers I saw did not go on for the majority of nights.  

Alongside the casting genius, the line delivery and set made the revived performance a new experience from how the show traditionally performs. When thinking of Into the Woods, my mind goes to fantastic sets, costumes, and a rather serious tone. The production running at the St. James theater completely flipped this upside down, using simple sets—often just a few layered trees in the background, and simple costumes, to showcase the power the cast has in all areas of performance.  

To break down the cast I saw is nearly impossible (that’s how indescribably talented and captivating they were), but I will give it a shot. Sister Act’s Patina Miller, currently splitting the role with Montego Glover, was the perfect Witch, gaining the audience’s attention with ease, and delivering a tear-jerking and heart-wrenching rendition of “Stay with Me,” having great chemistry with her Rapunzel. She truly had the audience in her palm with her powerful, charismatic voice. She genuinely had my favorite performance of the cast.  

Sara Bareilles. That is all, you hear her name, and you know that whatever she is involved with will succeed. After writing and staring in Waitress, Bareilles has made a welcome return. I knew I had to see her on Broadway the moment it was announced she has been cast, and she did not disappoint. Her voice is so distinct and having been a fan of hers from “Love Song,” her hit song from too long ago, I was ecstatic to see that she was one of the principals on the night I was there. Hearing her live was such an experience, she sounds exactly like she does in songs from 15 years ago, her voice pierced through the room, even sitting so far towards the back her impact was not diminished. Going into it, I knew she could sing, but what impressed me was her physical comedy skills. While she is no longer in the show, if she makes a return to the stage, it is a must to see her if possible. 

The last cast member I NEED to discuss is the fabulous Phillipa Soo, of Hamilton Fame. I never really cared about Into the Woods as a show until I saw Anna Kendrick’s performance in the movie adaptation as Cinderella. The number of times her rendition of “On the Steps of the Palace” in the car on the way home to and from school, I had high hopes for what it would be like in person, on a professional stage. Soo truly made the character stand out in the ensemble, taking advantage of all of her time on stage, stunning the crowd with her vocal and acting prowess. Icons are icons for a reason.  

While the cast I saw is not all still in the show, I urge anyone who can see it before it closes to do so. This revival has seen success, buzz, and extensions unlike any revivals in recent memory, and that is because it is such an experience different from any production of it previously and different from every other show on Broadway at the moment. The caliber and number of legend-level talent speak to how once-in-a-lifetime this show is. In another update, the cast recording is coming out very soon, September 30th, so even if you cannot make the trek to NYC, you can get the experience (at least a non-visual experience) of the power the cast and show have. 

Hey y'all. My name is Paul (he/him) and I am a sophomore communication studies major and a member of HC Temple University.