Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Into the Woods: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Deluxe Edition (on CD and Hoopla)

Into the Woods: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Deluxe Edition
by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine [Compact Disc 782.14 Into] 

Into the Woods was a staged musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, which opened in San Diego in 1986, then on Broadway in 1987, winning Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book (opposite Broadway juggernaut Phantom of the Opera). After years of successful runs, touring productions, local community theater and high school productions, Hollywood finally produced a motion picture version just within the past couple of years, featuring a cast full of both movie and stage stars. Meryl Streep is The Witch, James Corden and Emily Blunt are The Baker and his wife, Anna Kendrick is Cinderella, Chris Pine is Prince Charming and Johnny Depp is The Wolf — among many, many more.

Over the years, many different soundtrack albums have been released, from various productions — New York, London, revivals, etc. — and the movie version put out two different soundtracks. One was a shorter single-disc album, featuring 20 songs — all the major “hits” from the show — while the Deluxe Edition was a two-disc album featuring 50 tracks, including a ot of the dialog that leads into the individual songs. The cast, overall, does a marvelous job with what is sometimes extremely fast-paced lyrics, often with various singers overlapping each other with their own motifs. The show, which plays around with traditional fairytale tropes and pokes loving fun at long-standing storytelling traditions, still manages to evoke a lot of intense emotion, and the performances here capture that emotion well. The “Opening Prologue”, which sets all the characters’ storylines in motion, is tremendous. Every character has a moment to shine, both with humor and with drama. And by the end of the show, when the entire cast shares verses of “Finale/Children Will Listen”, I challenge you not to have been moved. I know some fans of the staged version are not fans of the movie version, but, personally, I loved the movie and this two-disc soundtrack is one of my favorites! Highly recommended!!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the two-disc soundtrack to the recent filmed version of Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman and a cast of other notables.] [ Wikipedia page for the Into the Woods movie soundtrack ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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