Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods debuted 28 years ago on the Old Globe stage and went on to become a Broadway and worldwide sensation. The musical mingling of fairytales is back at the Globe for the first time since then, in a reimagining by New York-based Fiasco Theater. Fiasco’s Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld co-direct an Into the Woods that plays out on a set that resembles the inside of a piano rather than tall trees, and rhythmically moves like a Second City production. As it was from its inception, the overlong first act is witty and prop-heavy, while the darker second act is so moving it makes sweeping statements far beyond the triteness of fairytales, especially spoofed ones like these. Sondheim’s score is most haunting in Act 2 as well, and we’re reminded just why Into the Woods became legendary.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.