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SOUND OFF Special Edition: 10 Reasons To Get Excited About The Release Of INTO THE WOODS On Blu-ray, Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere

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Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's celebrated multi-award-winning fairy tale-themed musical INTO THE WOODS is coming to Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on March 24 and today we are highlighting 10 reasons why this modern movie musical marvel is absolutely essential to own - for those already familiar with the classic stories and the musical's unique take on them as well as those experiencing this singular interpretation of the Brothers Grimm for the very first time. Needless to say, CHICAGO director Rob Marshall's vision for the visually and aurally splendorous Disney production is beyond compare - with a star-studded cast to match! And, as BroadwayWorld readers know all too well - it doesn't get any better than a musical by the master himself, Stephen Sondheim. Yet, the Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere edition of INTO THE WOODS offers even more reasons to get excited - and to grab yourself a copy as soon as possible now that it is available to purchase.

Order INTO THE WOODS on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere at the official site here.

#10 - A fresh take on classic fairy tales for a new generation. Never before or since has the world of the Brothers Grimm been explored in such a dramatic and intellectual way as it is in INTO THE WOODS, while also imbuing the effervescent liveliness and magical underpinnings emblematic of the iconic tales at the core of the story in a delightfully fresh manner - Cinderella and her dashing Prince, Rapunzel and her Witch of a mother, Little Red Riding Hood and the grisly Wolf, Jack and his magical beanstalk and many more; plus, a wholly new tale created just for this idiosyncratic enterprise in the form of the central characters of the childless Baker and his Wife. A new era, a new fairy tale classic.

#9 - The biggest stars in the world. Meryl Streep is considered the world's preeminent film actress and she is joined by a dizzying array of stage and screen superstars in INTO THE WOODS. Famed Sondheim screen interpreter Johnny Depp - late of his recent Oscar-nominated take on Sondheim's own SWEENEY TODD, no less - is joined by fellow movie musical superstar Anna Kendrick (of CAMP, PITCH PERFECT and THE LAST FIVE YEARS), not to mention recent Tony Award winner James Corden and noted Broadway breakout star Billy Magnussen. Plus, marquee star Chris Pine shows off a heretofore unheard swoon-worthy croon along with film favorite Emily Blunt showcasing a surprisingly strong and effective musical side, as well. That's all without even mentioning the up-and-coming talent evidenced in recent Broadway ANNIE revival headliner Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood and LES MISERABLES scene-stealer Daniel Huttlestone as Jack. Plus, what a supporting cast! Stage and screen notables Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman, Lucy Punch, Tammy Blanchard, Simon Russell Beale, Frances De La Tour and many more round out the exquisite ensemble with estimable aplomb.

#8 - An Anna Kendrick movie musical. One of the biggest Hollywood breakout stars of the last several years, the onetime Broadway baby stretches new muscles and stuns with her fascinatingly detailed and incredibly compelling central performance as Cinderella - not only does she excel in tricky patter songs like "On The Steps Of The Palace", but also leads some of Stephen Sondheim's most memorably beautiful and lyrical musical sequences ever composed, such as the achingly beautiful "No One Is Alone"; all of that without even mentioning the newly composed lyrics for "On The Steps Of The Palace" written by Sondheim himself explicitly for the film. Plus, who could forget her palpable rapport she shares with suave Chris Pine as her betrothed?! All of the comedy, drama and romance inherent in Kendrick's magnetic performance is now available in full to experience on the new Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere edition of INTO THE WOODS. One of the prime interpreters of the modern musical - CAMP to PITCH PERFECT to THE LAST FIVE YEARS included, not to mention her Broadway background - Kendrick and Sondheim together at last is a marriage made in musical theatre heaven.

#7 - The genius of Stephen Sondheim. Beginning his career as a lyricist with legendary Golden Age musicals WEST SIDE STORY and GYPSY, Sondheim emerged as the world's most respected and revered musical theatre composer and lyricist with his string of wildly imaginative and superlative creations throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, all the way up until today with INTO THE WOODS onscreen. Some of his most fondly remembered productions include A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, COMPANY, FOLLIES, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, SWEENEY TODD, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, ASSASSINS, PASSION - and, of course, the multi-Tony Award-winning INTO THE WOODS. Tonys, Grammys, an Oscar, a Pulitzer Prize and many more prestigious honors to his credit, Sondheim is the very best there is in the entertainment realm when it comes to master songwriters and dramatists - and his work absolutely sparkles onscreen in INTO THE WOODS.

#6 - The opening sequence. Among the most memorable and elemental attributes of INTO THE WOODS both onstage and onscreen is the nearly 15-minute opening number which introduces more than a dozen characters who will play essential roles in the proceedings - and, as seen in the film, this dynamic whirlwind of breathtaking theatrical artistry has never been rendered more astutely and absorbingly than it is in the new film edition of INTO THE WOODS. Relive the many musical themes introduced early on that play out throughout the musical again and again as you re-watch the opening number that kicks off all the magic - or, for those lucky enough to be experiencing it for the very first time, prepare yourself to be stunned, surprised and delighted by one of the most awe-inspiring musical sequences ever rendered. What a way to start!

#5 - Rob Marshall makes another movie musical masterpiece. Multi-Academy Award-winning movie musical CHICAGO ushered in an entire new era of theatrical properties appearing onscreen with pronounced popularity and worldwide attention, and, now, INTO THE WOODS is a 15-year continuation of what began with that modern classic - yet, whereas CHICAGO presented its numbers as performance pieces, INTO THE WOODS integrates the songs seamlessly into the dramatic action, as Marshall worked closely with book writer and original director James Lapine and songwriter Stephen Sondheim in creating the ideal filmatic environment in which to tell this familiar yet fresh story that speaks to audiences of all generations. As a result of the considerable efforts by the creative team in re-conceptualizing it newly for the silver screen, INTO THE WOODS is as wildly entertaining for adults as it is for younger members of the lucky viewers partaking of the glories amply apparent within it. A new decade, a new Rob Marshall stunner to savor again and again - and, now, own forever.

#4 - The exceptionally excellent Disney Movies Anywhere experience, now available on all your favorite devices. As cinephiles know well, modern technology allows audiences to fully absorb a cinematic experience anywhere they go. With Disney Movies Anywhere, INTO THE WOODS is spectacularly offered up in a technically advanced presentation boasting incredible video and audio clarity at home, in the car or on the go. The highly progressive and exceedingly user-friendly Disney Movies Anywhere option lets audiences take the show on the road and bring INTO THE WOODS with you wherever your journey may take you - and on whatever device; whether it be laptop, mobile phone or your favorite digital video platform. Win/win/win/win - and it's all thanks to Disney Movies Anywhere.

#3 - "Agony". Undoubtedly, the breakout song of the entire film - and this is a score filled to the brim with brilliance, after all - is the comedy number "Agony", stupendously enacted by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen as a pair of princes pining for their respective damsels in various states of distress (and, in some cases, undress). Never before has the hugely hilarious and thematically audacious number landed so squarely on the funny bone, with Pine and Magnussen combining their preternatural good looks and commendable acting ability with shockingly strong vocals to make a showstopper among Broadway's best comedy numbers land with a plosive punch powerful enough to pop the buttons off your shirt - or, in this case, their very own. A dazzling diamond amongst several precious gems to be found in INTO THE WOODS as now available to own.

#2 - A bevy of bonus features. Not only is INTO THE WOODS presented with the finest visual and audio possible via the Blu-ray and Digital HD versions, but the new release also allows audiences the ability to take it all on the go via the aforementioned Disney Movies Anywhere app - plus, the package is loaded up with an awesome array of magic beans in the form of several featurettes, as well. Highlighting every step of the production from initial idea to Broadway run to various film pitches to eventual greenlight all the way to rehearsal, filming and release, highlighting director Rob Marshall along with all the stars and even Stephen Sondheim himself in candid conversations about what makes INTO THE WOODS one of the most cherished modern musicals and the reasons for this film being such a landmark achievement, it is a true wealth of riches for any INTO THE WOODS fan, casual or die-hard. Plus, a director's commentary with Marshall and producer John DeLuca offers viewers yet another inside look, while the convenient "Jump To A Scene" feature allows for instant access to the many musical highlights - not to mention the world premiere of a brand new song sequence cut from the final version of the film but available in full for the very first time ("She'll Be Back"). A plethora of glories to explore and devour - again and again.

#1 - A new Disney classic. The Walt Disney Company has created more blockbuster films than nearly any other entertainment institution in history and now INTO THE WOODS joins the ranks of their countless masterpieces in the most exciting and enticing package possible as presented on the new Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere edition of INTO THE WOODS. What began with Mickey Mouse and SNOW WHITE and eventually led to MARY POPPINS, THE JUNGLE BOOK, THE LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, ALADDIN, THE LION KING and FROZEN now combines with the highest quality material from Broadway along with Hollywood's biggest and best stars to create a new movie musical to stand proudly as one of the most riveting, rousing and remarkable achievements in their prestigious and world renowned library. Without any doubt whatsoever, INTO THE WOODS on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere is a must-own not only for Broadway fans and Hollywood film lovers, but for anyone wishing to see entertainment at its very, very best. Wishes really do come true.

Order INTO THE WOODS on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere at the official site here.

The official description of INTO THE WOODS is as follows: "INTO THE WOODS is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) - all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them. Rob Marshall, the talented filmmaker behind the Academy Award®-winning musical "Chicago" and Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," helms the film, which is based on the Tony®-winning original musical by James Lapine, who also penned the screenplay, and legendary composer Stephen Sondheim, who provides the music and lyrics. Produced by Marshall, John DeLuca, "Wicked" producer Marc Platt and Callum McDougall."

Photo Credits: Disney

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Pat Cerasaro contributes exclusive scholarly columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Theatrical Throwback Thursdays, Flash Friday and Flash Special as well as additional special features, (read more...)