Saturday, December 27, 2014


I saw this on stage when it first opened and wasn't totally impressed. At least not enough to have a passion in my memory for it. Back then I saw it because when Sondheim is good he's the best and when he's anything less than the best he's still a seminal figure in the art of musicals. His innovations changed the form and changed the course of musical theater history.

I have quotes from lyrics of his over my desk and have for decades. I don't always like everything he does, but I always appreciate his attempts to do something I haven't seen or heard before. Or if I have, as in the case of the basic fairy tale stories INTO THE WOODS uses to riff on, Sondheim manages to  reinterpret them so they seem new.

So I saw it on stage back then and wasn't that impressed and when I heard there was finally a movie in the works I had little interest in seeing it. But some friends have kids who performed in a stage version and they were going to see it with them Christmas afternoon, and another good friend was going too, so it seemed like a great way to spend an afternoon with people I love to be with.

But when the movie started, from the first beat to the last I was into it. Partly that's the actors, all first rate, partly it's the directing and editing, but mostly it's Sondheim's music and lyrics, with that mash up of cynical and romantic, funny and poignant, glib and deep. I don't know how I'd react if I'd seen it first on the small screen, but on the big one it had me laughing loudly and wiping away a tear at the end. I'm glad I saw it.

1 comment:

William McPherson said...

I like this.