What is it about riffs on fairy tales that are so hot right now? On the film front, Disney has been digging into its vaults for inspiration—look at the Sleeping Beauty spinoff Maleficent and the upcoming Kenneth Branagh-helmed Cinderella. And on television, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” is a playground of Disney characters with a twist.
However, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods is the granddaddy of them all. When it opened on Broadway in 1987 (after a tryout at the Old Globe in San Diego in ’86), the musical was a dark spin on the fairy tale, showing what happens after happily ever after, with a cheating prince and an insane Rapunzel.
This season, Into the Woods is one of the most-produced productions across the country and the Rob Marshall-directed, celebrity-studded film adaptation opens on Christmas Day. But unlike in the movie, the characters do not always sport the traditional, fairy-tale regalia on stage.
This year alone, the Witch has worn a little black dress, the Baker and his Wife have worn jeans, and the woods have been swapped out for piano harps. In the slideshow below, we take a look at six notable reinventions of this fairy-tale reinvention from 2014.
Want to catch a live Into the Woods? Here’s some currently playing and upcoming versions of the musical. That’s something worth wishing for!
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts: Through Dec. 21, 2014
Roundabout Theatre Company/Fiasco Theater: Dec. 18–March 22, 2015
Theatre Horizon: Feb. 5–March 1, 2015
Theater Latte Da: March 4–29, 2015