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Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again

Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again

And Away We Go… Again

Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, Bobby Patrick, your rainbow reviewer is back in CD-Land to offer another broken-down breakdown of a new music release. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week's release of the ALL NEW revival cast album of INTO THE WOODS has us all a dither. This is a show whose 35-year history (so far) has included 3 full productions on The Broadway, a tenth-anniversary concert, 2 national tours, and 2 Off-The-Broadway showings (one of which, by Fiasco Theatre, spawned that latest national tour) and Bobby has seen all of them - not to mention that very popular American Playhouse video of the OG cast that fans are still watching to this day - it can't be just Little Bobby. This is a show to which this rainbow reviewer keeps returning, and so, it seems, do theatre producers, and before you all ask, Why? The short answer is... money... But the longer answer is the quality of the show. Taking on the tropes, archetypes, and stories from childhood fairy tales, modernizing them a touch (Act 1), and then deconstructing them until they explode (Act 2) allowed the partnership of Lapine & Sondheim to free up their imaginations and bring a new kind of storytelling to the theatre using these old, familiar stories set to the inimitable words and music of Stephen Sondheim and the psychological explorations of James Lapine. The show itself is alternately delightful and challenging, making the audience think about life, dreams, and regrets in ways that illuminate, darken, comfort, and confront, and that is a lot for one show about Happily Ever After and what happens after that.

Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again

Now to this new album - The Present Company of ITW is a fine balance of voices and talents, and, with its ethnically mixed casting, is a revival for our new era. The cast brings to the fore all their voices, both musical and personal, and creates the kind of magic that infuses these fairy tales. These new voices and the moments they sing about are the reason to pick up this fine album that is so wonderfully produced by Sean Patrick Flahaven. It is, without doubt, a very good recording of INTO THE WOODS, just as the original cast album was oh-so-many years ago - it just has new voices doing the singing. "Is there anything NEW about this NEW recording?" we hear you ask. The answer there is... Not really. Each actor brings their own voices and choices to the acting within the singing, as they should. All of that singing, music directed by Rob Berman, and all of that acting, directed by Lear deBessonet is, quite frankly, superb. In the end, what we have with this 2022 Broadway Cast Recording is a group of artists that went to live in the original house and then decorated it their way - a little bit. They increased dramatic punch a bit here (Patina Miller-STAY WITH ME), gave it a little more legato romantic elongation there (Sara Bareilles - MOMENTS IN THE WOODS), heightened all the anger, frustration, and indecision throughout (Brian D'Arcy James - NO MORE, Phillipa Soo - ON THE STEPS OF THE PALACE, and Ms. Miller's THE LAST MIDNIGHT). All of these performers put themselves on the artistic line to an established piece of American Musical Theatre History and, unquestionably, join their names to that history here. A shout-out must go out to Mssrs. Josh Henry and Gavin Creel as the 2 princes (et al), as they are two voices you think won't go together, but they do. Gavin's trumpet voice with a tortured soul, combined with Josh's heartfelt, rich, full tones really work.

Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again Album Review: A Broadway Revival Company's Cast Album Takes Us Back INTO THE WOODS… Again

In the long run, the 2022 Cast Album of the revival production of INTO THE WOODS offers this generation of The Broadway Musical fans palpably wonderful renditions of Mr. Sondheim's score. In the wake of losing that great man last year, this CD is a fitting farewell and a fine recollection of his moments in the woods. Is it anything "new"? - not really. The amount of material here is comparable to the first cast recording - big CD Booklet (real and virtual) with all the lyrics, some acting scenes included with the music and some of our best singing actors giving their all - just like before. But it is safe to say that those who believe the OG cast is the end all/be all/there-is-no-other actually will find a lot to like here, and those who are new to these woods, you are getting, with this recording, the same care of the material that came out some 35 years ago. Bobby says pick this one up because it gets our rousing...

4 Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your collection today.

Hear the Album On The Spotify: HERE

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From This Author - Bobby Patrick

Heigh Ho Friends & “Family”! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T. I am a queer reviewer, specializing in the seedy under... (read more about this author)


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