Into the Woods | Stage 773 | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Into the Woods Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 30 2010

This 1986 multiple-Tony-winning musical is one of my all-time favorites, and not just because my eldest son used to belt out pieces of it for the family when he was five or six years old. If James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's basic notion of mashing up a bunch of familiar fairy tales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, etc.) sounds like grist for a kids' show, the results go very, very far beyond the elementary or the cutesy. Sondheim's songs, in particular, are astonishing--at once erudite and passionate, complex and accessible, funny and, now and then, profound. And L. Walter Stearns's staging for Porchlight Music Theatre treats them extremely well for the most part. One cast member is noticeably--and, for a few minutes, conspicuously--overmatched by the score, but the rest not only have all the singing chops they need but bring an charming sense of play to their acting. What doesn't work is the clunky, confusing "multimedia" scenic strategy, which employs video projections by Liviu Pasare to compensate for a small stage. --Tony Adler

Price: $32-$38

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