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James Lapin’s Musical Into the Woods: An Overview

“Into the Woods” is a beautiful musical written by James Lapin with music by Stephen Sondheim that has a funny and unpredictable twist on childhood fairytales. The show made me laugh, cry, and feel as if I were in the woods with the characters. Through the heartfelt ballads such as “No One is Alone”, funny numbers including “Agony”, the songs were the highlight of the show. The theme of Into the Woods is realizing that the perfect world may not seem so perfect at all.

In the end of Act 1, all the characters are living out their wishes, although, it is not long until they face a new challenge. For example, the Bakers complain about having no room and Cinderella and her Prince aren’t so much in love anymore. As the plot turns for the worst and people start dying, hardships arrive and it’s not at all what they expected. Reality sets in with the characters and this just proves that the characters may never live the perfect life because it doesn’t exist.

The characters desire of having a life that is their definition of a happily ever after. For the bakers, it’s having a baby. For the witch, it’s to become young and beautiful again. For Cinderella, it’s to attend the festival. For Jack and his mother, it’s to be wealthy. But they soon turn desperate to make their wishes come true. For example, the baker made a false promise to Jack when asked if he can have his cow back someday. The characters, all good people, make questionable decisions to live the life they yearn. If the “perfect” life meant doing actions that wasn’t morally right, they had no hesitation.

A perfect world doesn’t exist, the best you can do is make the most out of the situations life throw at you. In the end, nobody ended up with the life they wanted in the beginning. Although, the characters ended up accepting that fact and was happy with the life they were given (those who survived, of course). The Baker, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Jack all found family in each other and created their own ever after.

The worth of seeking perfection is nothing because perfection doesn’t exist. There will always be some struggle or obstacle during life and the characters realize that while defeating the giant. People die or get hurt and it makes them cherish their life more. As the character’s experience made them mature and wise, they continue their new life. It may not be the life that they were looking for, but atleast it’s filled with the people they’ve grown to love. The witch was right when she pointed out the world was cold and cruel, but it’s filled with wonders. The world may not be perfect, but it is beautiful.

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