An in-depth look at the movie/musical "Into the Woods," now on DVD and Blu-Ray!

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Original Broadway Cast
I am obsessed with the musical Into the Woods.  It is one of my all-time favorites, written by my favorite composer, Stephen Sondheim.  (Perhaps you know him best for SWEENEY TODD or WEST SIDE STORY).

Stephen Sondheim + Fairy Tales = BEST THING EVER.
I think one of the reasons I like it so much is because it creates a perfect Happily Ever After by the end of Act I, only to deconstruct the truth behind HEA in Act II.

I'm seriously obsessed. Also, true story?  I used to feel that if I was more of a stage ham, Little Red in Into the Woods was one of my dream roles.  It helped that I had a "little girl" voice...and still do! ^^;;;

I've been really looking forward to the original theatrical release of Into the Woods for a long time now. I was nervous--and excited--and scared! (To sort of butcher a quote from Little Red in the show!)

How did it live up to my expectations?

Let's face it, sometimes my expectations of something are ASTRONOMICAL. They hit way too high and nothing can live up to what's in my head. Other times, things supersede my expectations and are wonderful and amazing. So which category did Into the Woods  fall into? Luckily for me, the AMAZING category.

I loved seeing my favorite musical brought to life in new, innovative ways. I didn't mind slight changes to lyrics to make them work for the movie. The only thing that made me truly sad was the lack of the song "Agony" Reprise," though I understand why Disney would cut it from a family-friendly movie. But come on, even as an outtake halfway through or at the end of the credits? It would have been priceless!

SO MANY of the actors amazed me in ways I wasn't expecting, most especially James Corden and Emily Blunt. I also love the way Jack was cast as a younger boy, which added mischief and worked quite well. It was also a stroke of brilliance to have him played by Daniel Huttlestone, who was in the recent Les Misérables movie as Gavroche. The young actress playing Little Red is Lilla Crawford, who has already had success on Broadway in her short career, having closed out Billy Elliott, then gone on to star in the recent revival of Annie. She's had a lot of buzz surrounding her, and I think it's great that two talented kids were hired and pulled off such complex roles. Sondheim isn't easy to sing even when you're a grown-up, let alone just starting out!

It was also really cool to watch all of the extras on the blu-ray. The included a new song that Sonheim wrote just for the movie that had been deleted, then re-inserted for the home video release. Meryl Streep will tug your heartstrings with this song, let me tell you. I felt so bad for the witch! It was also cool to take an in-depth peek at the costume designs and see the way they created and manipulated trees when making movie sets. I love that they wanted to make everything feel natural and use as little CGI as possible with this movie!

I can't wait for everyone to fall as much in love with this musical as I already am...and hope that many of you have already.  If you've never seen INTO THE WOODS, the original Broadway cast is featured on the recorded DVD.  The cast is stellar; in particular, this was the musical that made me discover how much I love the legendary Bernadette Peters.  She's amazing as the witch, and I've yet to see anyone I love half as much in the role, which truly belongs to her.

It's available for purchase, and you might even be able to rent it on Netflix!

The Original Cast Recording is available on CD and iTunes, as is a more recent Revival Recording with all-new performers.

And, of course, Into the Woods: The Movie just came out last month on DVD and blu-ray! I was off the day my copy arrived, and I literally watched it twice back to back. Yep, it was that good!

I highly recommend this musical, fairy tale fans!