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Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

Résumé

The story of a baker and his wife who will be granted their wish for a child if they can deliver Cinderella's slipper, Red Riding Hood's cape, Rapunzel's long hair and Jack's cow to the wicked witch.

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In most productions of Into the Woods, including the original Broadway production, several parts are doubled. Cinderella's Prince and the Wolf, who share the characteristic of being unable to control their appetites, are played by the same actor. Similarly, the Narrator and the Mysterious Man, who share the characteristic of commenting on the story while avoiding any personal involvement or responsibility. Granny and Cinderella's Mother, who are both matriarchal characters in the story, are also typically played by the same person, who also gives voice to the nurturing but later murderous Giant's Wife.
The show covers multiple themes: growing up, parents and children, accepting responsibility, morality, and finally, wish fulfillment and its consequences. The Time Magazine reviewers wrote that the play's "basic insight ... is at heart, most fairy tales are about the loving yet embattled relationship between parents and children. Almost everything that goes wrong — which is to say, almost everything that can — arises from a failure of parental or filial duty, despite the best intentions." Stephen Holden wrote that the themes of the show include parent-child relationships and the individual's responsibility to the community. The witch isn't just a scowling old hag, but a key symbol of moral ambivalence. James Lapine said that the most unpleasant person (the Witch) would have the truest things to say and the "nicer" people would be less honest. In the Witch's words: "I'm not good; I'm not nice; I'm just right."
The score is also notable in Sondheim's output, because of its intricate reworking and development of small musical motifs. In particular, the opening words, "I wish", are set to the interval of a rising major second and this small unit is both repeated and developed throughout the show, just as Lapine's book explores the consequences of self-interest and "wishing." The dialogue in the show is characterized by the heavy use of syncopated speech. In many instances, the characters' lines are delivered with a fixed beat that follows natural speech rhythms, but is also purposely composed in eighth, sixteenth, and quarter note rhythms as part of a spoken song. Like many Sondheim/Lapine productions, the songs contain thought-process narrative, where characters converse or think aloud.
Sondheim drew on parts of his troubled childhood when writing the show. In 1987, he told Time Magazine that the "father uncomfortable with babies [was] his father, and [the] mother who regrets having had children [was] his mother."

 

Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

Original Broadway production
Into the Woods premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, on December 4, 1986 and ran for 50 performances under the direction of James Lapine. The majority of the performers from that production appeared in the Broadway cast but John Cunningham, who played the Narrator, Wolf and Steward and George Coe, as the Mysterious Man and Cinderella's Father were replaced by Tom Aldredge, who played the Narrator and Mysterious Man. Kenneth Marshall as Cinderella's Prince was replaced by Robert Westenberg (who also played the Wolf), LuAnne Ponce, who played Little Red Ridinghood, was replaced by Danielle Ferland, Ellen Foley, the Witch, was replaced by Bernadette Peters. Kay McClelland, who played both Rapunzel and the Stepsister Florinda, stayed with the cast but only played Florinda, Rapunzel being played by Pamela Winslow.
The musical opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on November 5, 1987, and closed on September 3, 1989 after 765 performances. It starred Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Kim Crosby, Ben Wright, Danielle Ferland, Chuck Wagner, Merle Louise, Tom Aldredge, and Robert Westenberg. The musical was directed by James Lapine, with musical staging by Lar Lubovitch, settings by Tony Straiges, lighting by Richard Nelson, and costumes by Ann Hould-Ward (based on original concepts by Patricia Zipprodt and Ann Hould-Ward). The original production won the 1988 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, and the original cast recording won a Grammy Award. The show was nominated for ten Tony Awards, and won three: Best Score (Stephen Sondheim), Best Book (James Lapine) and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason).
Peters left the show after almost five months due to a prior commitment to film the movie Slaves of New York. The Witch was then played by: Betsy Joslyn (from March 30, 1988); Phylicia Rashād (from April 14, 1988); Betsy Joslyn (from July 5, 1988); Nancy Dussault (from December 13, 1988); and Ellen Foley (from August 1, 1989 until the closing).
Other cast replacements included Dick Cavett as the Narrator (as of July 19, 1988) (for a temporary engagement after which Tom Aldredge returned), Edmund Lyndeck as the Mysterious Man, Patricia Ben Peterson as Cinderella, LuAnne Ponce returning to the role of Little Red Ridinghood, Jeff Blumenkrantz as Jack, Marin Mazzie as Rapunzel (as of March 7, 1989) and Kay McClelland, Lauren Mitchell, Cynthia Sikes and Mary Gordon Murray as the Baker's Wife.
In May 1989, the original cast (with the exception of Jean Louisa Kelly in the minor role of Snow White) reunited for one performance, which was filmed and broadcast on U.S. public television on March 20, 1991. This version (which featured pick-up shots filmed in an empty theater) has since been released on DVD.
Tenth Anniversary benefit performances of this production were held on November 9, 1997 at The Broadway Theatre (New York), with most of original cast. Original cast understudies Chuck Wagner and Jeff Blumenkrantz played Cinderella's Prince/Wolf and The Steward in place of Robert Westenburg and Philip Hoffmann and Jonathan Dokuchitz (who joined the broadway production as an understudy in 1989) played Rapunzel's Prince in place of Mr. Wagner. This concert featured the duet "Our Little World," written for the first London production of the show.

1988 US tour
A United States tour began on November 22, 1988 with Cleo Laine playing the Witch, replaced by Betsy Joslyn in May 1989. Rex Robbins played the Narrator and Mysterious Man, Charlotte Rae played Jack's Mother, and the Princes were played by Chuck Wagner and Douglas Sills. The 10-month tour played cities around the country, such as Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. The tour ran at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from June 1989 to July 16, 1989, with the reviewer for The Washington Post writing: "his lovely score -- poised between melody and dissonance -- is the perfect measure of our tenuous condition. The songs invariably follow the characters' thinking patterns, as they weigh their options and digest their experience. Needless to say, that doesn't make for traditional show-stoppers. But it does make for vivacity of another kind. And Sondheim's lyrics...are brilliant.... I think you'll find these cast members alert and engaging."

Original London production
The original West End production opened on September 25, 1990 at the Phoenix Theatre and closed on February 23, 1991 after 197 performances. It was directed by Richard Jones, and produced by David Mirvish, with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, costumes by Sue Blane and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. The cast featured Julia McKenzie as the Witch, Ian Bartholomew as the Baker, Imelda Staunton as the Baker's Wife and Clive Carter as the Wolf/Cinderella's Prince. The show received seven Olivier Award nominations in 1991, winning for Best Actress in a Musical (Staunton) and Best Director of a Musical (Jones).
Some story aspects and one song that were cut from the original production were added to the London production. The song "Our Little World" was added. This song was a duet sung between the Witch and Rapunzel giving further insight into the care the Witch has for her self-proclaimed daughter and the desire Rapunzel has to see the world outside of her tower. The overall feel of the show was a lot darker to that of the original Broadway production. Critic Michael Billington wrote "But the evening's triumph belongs also to director Richard Jones, set designer Richard Hudson and costume designer Sue Blane who evoke exactly the right mood of haunted theatricality. Old-fashioned footlights give the faces a sinister glow. The woods themselves are a semi-circular, black-and-silver screen punctuated with nine doors and a crazy clock: they achieve exactly the 'agreeable terror' of Gustave Dore's children's illustrations. And the effects are terrific: doors open to reveal the rotating magnified eyeball or the admonitory finger of the predatory giant."

1998 London revival
A new intimate production of the show opened (billed as the first London revival) at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 November 1998, closing on 13 February 1999. This revival was directed by John Crowley and designed by his brother, Bob Crowley. The cast included Clare Burt as the Witch, Nick Holder as the Baker, Sophie Thompson as the Baker's Wife, Jenna Russell as Cinderella, Sheridan Smith as Little Red Ridinghood and Frank Middlemass as the Narrator/Mysterious Man. Russell later appeared as the Baker's Wife in the 2010 Regent's Park production. Thompson won the 1999 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance, while the production itself was nominated for Outstanding Musical Production.

2002 Broadway revival
A revival opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, running from February 1, 2002 to March 24, 2002. This production was directed and choreographed, with the same principal cast, which later ran on Broadway.
The 2002 Broadway revival, directed by James Lapine and choreographed by John Carrafa, began previews on April 13, 2002 and opened April 30, 2002 at the Broadhurst Theatre, closing on December 29 after a run of 18 previews and 279 regular performances. It starred Vanessa L. Williams as the Witch, John McMartin as the Narrator, Stephen DeRosa as the Baker, Kerry O'Malley as the Baker's Wife, Gregg Edelman as Cinderella's Prince/Wolf, Christopher Sieber as Rapunzel's Prince/Wolf, Molly Ephraim as Little Red Ridinghood, Adam Wylie as Jack and Laura Benanti as Cinderella. Judi Dench provided the pre-recorded voice of the Giant.
Lapine revised the script slightly for this production, with a cameo appearance of the Three Little Pigs restored from the earlier San Diego production. Other changes, apart from numerous small dialogue changes, included the addition of the song "Our Little World," a duet for the Witch and Rapunzel written for the first London production, the addition of a second wolf in the song "Hello Little Girl" who competes for Little Red's attention with the first Wolf, the portrayal of Jack's cow by a live performer (Chad Kimball) in an intricate costume and new lyrics were written for "The Last Midnight," now sung by the Witch as a menacing lullaby to the Baker's baby.
The revival won the Tony Awards for the Best Revival of a Musical and Best Lighting Design. This Broadway revival wardrobe is on display at the Costume World Broadway Collection in South Florida.

London Royal Opera House, 2007
A revival at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio in Covent Garden had a limited run from June 14 through June 30, 2007 followed by a short stint at The Lowry theatre, Salford Quays, Manchester between 4–7 July. The production mixed Opera singers, Musical Theatre actors as well as Film and television actors; including Anne Reid as Jack's Mother and Gary Waldhorn as the Narrator. The production itself, directed by Will Tuckett, was met with mixed reviews; although there were clear stand out performances.
The production completey sold out three weeks before opening. As this was an 'Opera' production, the show and its performers were overlooked for the 'Musical' nominations in the 2008 Olivier Awards. This production featured Suzie Toase (Little Red), Peter Caulfield (Jack), Beverley Klein (Witch), Anna Francolini (Baker's Wife), Clive Rowe (Baker), Nicholas Garrett (wolf) and Lara Pulver (Lucinda). This was the second Sondheim musical to be staged by the Opera House, following 2003's Sweeney Todd.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, 2010
The Olivier Award winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production, directed by Timothy Sheader and choreographed by Liam Steel, ran for a six week limited season from 6 August to 11 September 2010. The cast included Hannah Waddingham as the Witch, Jenna Russell as the Baker’s wife, Helen Dallimore as Cinderella, and Judi Dench as the recorded voice of the Giant. Gareth Valentine was the Musical Director. The musical was performed outdoors in a wooded area. Whilst the book remained mostly unchanged, the subtext of the plot was dramatically altered by casting the role of the Narrator as a young school boy lost in the woods following a family argument – a device used to further illustrate the musical’s themes of parenting and adolescence.
The production opened to wide critical acclaim, much of the press commenting on the effectiveness of the open air setting. The Telegraph reviewer, for example, wrote: "It is an inspired idea to stage this show in the magical, sylvan surroundings of Regent’s Park, and designer Soutra Gilmour has come up with a marvellously rickety, adventure playground of a set, all ladders, stairs and elevated walkways, with Rapunzel discovered high up in a tree." The New York Times reviewer commented: "The natural environment makes for something genuinely haunting and mysterious as night falls on the audience..." Stephen Sondheim attended twice, reportedly extremely pleased with the production. The production also won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and Michael Xavier, who played Cinderella's Prince and the Wolf, was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
The production was recorded in its entirety and released for public download through Digital Theatre, an online video production company.

Public Theater, New York, 2012
The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production transferred to the Public Theater's 2012 summer series of free performances Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York, with an American cast as well as new designers. Sheader again is the director and Steel serves as co-director and choreographer. Performances were originally to run from July 24 (delayed from July 23 due to the weather) to August 25, 2012, but the show was extended till September 1, 2012. The cast included Amy Adams as The Baker's Wife, Donna Murphy as The Witch, Denis O'Hare as The Baker, Chip Zien as the Mysterious Man/Cinderella's Father, Jack Broderick as the young Narrator, Gideon Glick as Jack, Cooper Grodin as Rapunzel’s Prince, Ivan Hernandez as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf, Tina Johnson as Granny, Josh Lamon as the Steward, Jessie Mueller as Cinderella, Laura Shoop as Cinderella’s Mother, Tess Soltau as Rapunzel and Glenn Close as the Voice of the Giant. The set was a "collaboration between original Open Air Theatre designer Soutra Gilmour and...John Lee Beatty, [and] rises over 50 feet in the air, with a series of tree-covered catwalks and pathways." The production was dedicated to Nora Ephron, who died earlier in 2012. In February 2012 and in May 2012, reports of a possible Broadway transfer surfaced with the production's principal actors in negotiations to reprise their roles. In January 2013, it was announced that the production will not transfer to Broadway due to scheduling conflicts.

 

Détails

Liste des chansons

Act I
"Act One Prologue" – Narrator, and Company (the Act One Prologue is divided into nine parts which are often viewed as individual songs)
"Cinderella at the Grave" – Cinderella, Cinderella's Mother
"Hello, Little Girl" – Wolf and Little Red Ridinghood (with second wolf and the three little pigs in 2002 revival)
"The Spell is On My House" (Reprise) – Baker and Baker's Wife
"I Guess This is Goodbye" – Jack
"Maybe They're Magic" – Baker and Baker's Wife
"Our Little World" – Witch and Rapunzel (added during the original London production)
"Maybe They're Magic" (Reprise) – Baker
"I Know Things Now" – Little Red Ridinghood
"A Very Nice Prince" – Cinderella and Baker's Wife
"First Midnight" – Company
"Giants in the Sky" – Jack
"Agony" – Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince
"A Very Nice Prince" (Reprise) – Cinderella and Baker's Wife
"It Takes Two" – Baker and Baker's Wife
"Second Midnight" – Company
"Stay with Me" – Rapunzel and Witch
"On the Steps of the Palace" – Cinderella (with Jack and Little Red Ridinghood in 2002 revival)
"Act One Finale" – Company (the Act One Finale is divided into four parts which are often viewed as individual songs)

Act II
"Act Two Prologue" – Narrator and Company (the Act Two Prologue is divided into nine parts which are often viewed as individual songs)
"Agony" (Reprise) – Cinderella's Prince and Rapunzel's Prince
"Witch's Lament" – Witch
"Any Moment (Part 1)" – Cinderella's Prince and Baker's Wife
"Any Moment (Part 2)" – Cinderella's Prince and Baker's Wife
"Moments in the Woods" – Baker's Wife
"Your Fault" – Jack, Baker, Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood and Witch
"Last Midnight" – Witch
"No More" – Baker and Mysterious Man
"No One is Alone (Part 1)" – Cinderella and Little Red Ridinghood
"No One is Alone (Part 2)" – Cinderella, Baker, Little Red Ridinghood and Jack
"Act Two Finale" – Company (the finale is divided into four parts which are often viewed as individual songs)

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