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Boston is Going Into the Woods

By Hannah Eaton

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There’s a moment in the first half of Into the Woods, when the audience sees the Baker and his wife fall back in love with one another. The Baker’s wife calls her husband “passionate, charming, considerate, clever,” while the Baker dotes on his wife, telling her she “came through when the journey was rough” to help him break the Witch’s curse. “It Takes Two” is one of the only songs in act one that shows the trust and hope between the two main characters, and with the Boston touring group, it is done perfectly.

The Broadway national tour of Into the Woods reached Boston this March, and while the cast is excellent all together, the roles of the Baker and his wife shine in this rendition.

With the magic of Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus as real-life husband and wife playing this duo, there is sincerity and playfulness that Stephen Sondheim himself would be impressed by. “It Takes Two” is one of their stand-out moments, where the love is translated perfectly from off to on-screen. While the Baker and his wife will reach more hardship along their journey for a child (and happiness), Block and Arcelus are so convincing in their hope that the audience forgets that this musical is really more of a tragedy.

Into the Woods first premiered on Broadway in November of 1987. The music and lyrics were written by Stephen Sondheim and adapted from the book by James Lapine.

The story is an amalgamation of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, some of which include classic stories such as “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The Baker and his wife, the main characters, must wade through a forest of these stories in order to break a witch’s curse stopping them from having a child.

Block especially, breathes new life into Sondheim’s work in this tour, with her reimagining of “Moments in the Woods” as a clear showstopper. She previously worked alongside her husband Arcelus in the national tour of Wicked in 2006 and the Broadway show in 2007, playing Elphaba and Fiyero Tigelaar, respectively.

Into the Woods is playing at the Emerson Colonial Theatre until April 2. You can buy tickets here.

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