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Into The Woods Review


Excellent

It's taken a long time for this stage musical to make it to the big screen, and while director Rob Marshall once again fails to give the story a sharp focus (see also Chicago and Nine), he at least lets the music and characters shine. Originally staged on Broadway in 1987, this musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is a gleeful mash-up of fairy tales that continues on past the "happily ever after", eventually turning rather dark and emotional.

Once upon a time, there was a Baker and his Wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt) who learn that they can't have children because the Witch (Meryl Streep) next door has cursed them. She offers to break the spell if they collect a cow, a cape, a slipper and a lock of hair. Meanwhile, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) annoys his mother (Tracey Ullman) by selling the family cow for a handful of "magic" beans; Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) dodges a leery Wolf (Johnny Depp) following her through the woods; Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) sneaks to the festival to meet the Prince (Chris Pine) against the wishes of her nasty stepmum (Christine Baranski); and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) defies her mother by letting her hair down for a Prince (Billy Magnussen). After knotting together, each plot strand resolves happily. Until the next day.

This is very much a story of two halves, with the sharp, snappy, hilarious first act contrasting strongly against the rather disturbingly grim and grisly second act, as everyone's story unravels to reveal each character's deep neediness. What makes this show so clever is the way it undermines the usual fairy-tale happiness of most stories, cautioning that this artifice is actually a problem for children. While the songs are all clever and thoroughly engaging, none of them is particularly hummable on first listen, but each is packed with witty wordplay and serious subtext that gets under the skin.

Continue reading: Into The Woods Review

Anna Kendrick On 'Into The Woods' Role: I'm An Emotional Accountant


Anna Kendrick Rob Marshall Stephen Sondheim

There's no question that Anna Kendrick has re-invented the character of Cinderella for fairytale musical 'Into The Woods', and while it has drawn both criticism and praise, she herself is grateful to have had the opportunity.

Anna Kendrick in 'Into The Woods'
Anna Kendrick is Cinderella in 'Into The Woods'

The purpose of the Rob Marshall directed movie was to put across that there's flaws in everybody, even those childhood characters we so adore. In 'Into The Woods', we see each character drawn in by the magic of the woods with the determination for their wish to come true - despite what the consequences may be. When it comes down to Cinderella, a character known for her unwavering kindness, it could've been difficult to make her real; imperfect and often obsessive.

Continue reading: Anna Kendrick On 'Into The Woods' Role: I'm An Emotional Accountant

Chris Pine Compares 'Into The Woods' Co-Star Anna Kendrick To A Martial Artist


Chris Pine Anna Kendrick Meryl Streep Stephen Sondheim Rob Marshall

Chris Pine likens seeing 'Into The Woods' co-star Anna Kendrick singing to 'watching a martial artist', as he admits that the musical task for the production of the film was nowhere near as simple as it would appear.

Chris Pine in 'Into The Woods'
Chris Pine plays Cinderella's Prince Charming

It seems that none of the cast of 'Into The Woods' were particularly overwhelmed with confidence at the prospect of singing Stephen Sondheim's spectacular tunes - except perhaps Meryl Streep, who showed off her fabulous pipes back in 2008 with 'Mamma Mia!' Being more focused on acting than singing, it was nerve-wracking for the stars to say the least, and according to Chris Pine it didn't appear to get any easier once inside the studio.

Continue reading: Chris Pine Compares 'Into The Woods' Co-Star Anna Kendrick To A Martial Artist

James Corden: Meryl Streep Singing Experience Would Go For Millions At Auction


James Corden Meryl Streep Stephen Sondheim

James Corden admits he was awestruck by Meryl Streep's spine-tingling vocals demonstrated in Stephen Sondheim's showstopping soundtrack for 'Into The Woods'. And we really can't say we blame him.

Emily Blunt and James Corden in 'Into The Woods'
James Corden and Emily Blunt play the cursed Baker and his wife in 'Into The Woods'

Ok, so we already knew Meryl Streep had some pretty impressive pipes on her following her spectacular performance in 'Mammi Mia!' which, understandably, was then nominated for a Grammy award for Best Soundtrack, but 'Into The Woods' is something else. It's one thing being able to knock out a pop hit, it's another to reach impossible heights in emotional show tunes; co-star James Corden insists she's done just that.

Continue reading: James Corden: Meryl Streep Singing Experience Would Go For Millions At Auction

Anna Kendrick Wonders How She Snuck Into The Cast Of Into The Woods


Anna Kendrick Stephen Sondheim

Disney’s latest musical, Into the Woods, is getting a lot of attention as its Christmas Day opening comes ever closer. The film’s trailers are exciting and frightening in equal measure, Meryl Streep’s turn as the witch looks to be both magnificent and utterly terrifying and its all-star cast is something for everyone to be excited about.

Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick plays Cinderella in Disney's Into the Woods

But what does Cinderella, a.k.a actress Anna Kendrick, think of Disney’s newest adaptation?

Continue reading: Anna Kendrick Wonders How She Snuck Into The Cast Of Into The Woods

Johnny Depp 'Daunted' By Into The Woods Role


Johnny Depp Rob Marshall Stephen Sondheim Meryl Streep Emily Blunt Anna Kendrick

There's an enormous buzz surrounding Rob Marshall and Stephen Sondheim's stage to film musical 'Into The Woods' with it's spectacular ensemble cast and vibrant setting, but even a super A lister like Johnny Depp couldn't help but feel a little nervous.

Johnny Depp in 'Into The Woods'
Johnny Depp is the wiley Wolf in 'Into The Woods'

Being surrounded by award-winning movie stars like Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick is scary enough without the prospect of singing in front of them. While you'd think Johnny Depp would be used to it, having starred in Stephen Sondheim's Oscar winning film adaptation of 'Sweeney Todd' back in 2007 and appeared in a number of Hollywood blockbusters with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Helena Bonham Carter, Angelina Jolie, Christian Bale and John Malkovich. However, he admits he found his role as the Wolf 'daunting' even if it was a 'joy' to be involved. 'It's one of those moments that you realise you will never in your life have an opportunity like that again, as an actor or as a musician', he confesses, in the run-up to the film's release.

Continue reading: Johnny Depp 'Daunted' By Into The Woods Role

Into The Woods Finally Shows Off Its Singing


Meryl Streep Johnny Depp James Corden Emily Blunt Stephen Sondheim

Disney has released a new all-singing, all-dancing trailer for its Christmas musical Into the Woods which is due out in cinemas on 25 December. After the first trailer, which might have got fans of musicals a little concerned with its lack of song, this latest instalment does not disappoint and the two minute teaser is jam-packed with musical previews.

Into the Woods
Into the Woods sports an impressive cast of fairytale characters and Hollywood actors

The impressive ensemble of fairytale characters, played by an even more impressive ensemble of stars, all get their turn in the trailer spotlight but its Meryl Streep’s witch character that steals the show.

Continue reading: Into The Woods Finally Shows Off Its Singing

Will Stephen Sondheim Bring Fairytale Musical 'Into The Woods' An Oscar?


Stephen Sondheim Rob Marshall Meryl Streep Emily Blunt Johnny Depp Chris Pine

Fairytale adaptations are gaining some serious popularity at the moment, while musicals on the big screen continue to be award magnets, put those two together and add an incredible ensemble cast and you have Rob Marshall's 'Into The Woods'.

Meryl Streep as the wicked witch in 'Into The Woods'
Meryl Streep plays the wicked witch in 'Into The Woods'

This holiday season brings a rather special twist on the fairytale movie sub-genre, starring the likes of Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp and Chris Pine. While it's clear that Hollywood is enjoying bringing Grimm and Perrault's stories to life with such creations as 'Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters' and the Emmy nominated series 'Once Upon A Time', 'Into The Woods' goes that step further. With an excellent musical score by the Academy Award winning Stephen Sondheim (composer of 'Sweeney Todd', contributor of 'Dick Tracy' and 'West Side Story' lyricist), we're expecting this movie to join that ever-popular brand of Oscar worthy musical cinema.

Continue reading: Will Stephen Sondheim Bring Fairytale Musical 'Into The Woods' An Oscar?

Opening Night Of New York Philharmonic's Sweeney Todd - Act Two

Stephen Sondheim and Cast - Opening Night of New York Philharmonic's Sweeney Todd, held at Avery Fisher Hall - Act Two. - New York, New York, United States - Thursday 6th March 2014

Stephen Sondheim and Cast
Stephen Sondheim and Cast
Stephen Sondheim and Cast

New York Premiere Of Six By Sondheim - Arrivals

Stephen Sondheim and Barbara Cook - The New York Premiere of the HBO documentary Six By Sondheim, held at the Museum of Modern Art - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 19th November 2013

Stephen Sondheim and Barbara Cook
Frank Rich, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Frank Rich, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
America Ferrera, Stephen Sondheim and Jeremy Jordan

Where: New York City, USA, United States

Stephen Sondheim, Assassins, Studio and New York City - Stephen Sondheim at the after party for the one night only concert gala of the musical ‘Assassins’ held at Studio 54. New York City, USA - 03.12.12 Monday 3rd December 2012 Where: New York City, USA, United States

Stephen Sondheim, Assassins, Studio and New York City

During The Opening Night Curtain Call For 'Marry Me A Little', Held At The Clurman Theatre At Theatre Row.

Stephen Sondheim Tuesday 2nd October 2012 during the Opening night curtain call for 'Marry Me A Little', held at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row.

Stephen Sondheim
Lauren Molina, Stephen Sondheim and Jason Tam
Stephen Sondheim
Lauren Molina, Stephen Sondheim and Jason Tam
Lauren Molina, Stephen Sondheim and Jason Tam

CD Signing For The New Encores! Cast Recording Of Merrily We Roll Along,

Stephen Sondheim Tuesday 10th July 2012 CD Signing for the new Encores! cast recording of Merrily We Roll Along,

Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Trailer


Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Trailer

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street Review


Very Good
Quite possibly the strangest holiday release since Miramax rolled out its bloodsucking Dracula update in December 2000, Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street reproduces Stephen Sondheim's moody musical as a theatrically macabre vengeance play that gleefully soaks its numbers in gallons of gooey, red stage blood. It's a mesmerizing mess of a film that alternates its high notes with blatant missteps. Yet for all its unmistakable faults, it casts such a complete spell that I'm chomping at the bit to see it again (and again).

Where other studios might have demanded proven singers for the parts, Paramount (bravely?) permits Burton to practice extreme nepotism. The director recruits his better half, Johnny Depp, for the title role of a wrongfully jailed barber who seeks vengeance against a covetous judge (Alan Rickman) and his troll-like lackey (Timothy Spall). As for the role of Mrs. Lovett, it goes to Burton's wife, Helena Bonham Carter. A meat-pie maker, Lovett helps dispose of Sweeney's human victims by turning them into delectable delicacies.

Continue reading: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street Review

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Stephen Sondheim Movies

Into the Woods Movie Review

Into the Woods Movie Review

It's taken a long time for this stage musical to make it to the big...

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Trailer

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Trailer

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Trailer Visionary filmmaker Tim Burton ('Batman,' 'Charlie...

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Broadway: The Golden Age, By The Legends Who Were There Movie Review

Broadway: The Golden Age, By The Legends Who Were There Movie Review

Self-indulgent to a fault and brusquely shoved together without much of a sense of rhythm,...

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