Chris Willman
March 08, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Into the Woods

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
124 minutes
Wide Release Date
12/25/14
performer
Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Meryl Streep
director
Rob Marshall

We gave it an A

If last year’s Broadway Sondheim revival, Follies, was star-crossed and short-lived, the heavens have moved into happy alignment over these Woods, which will shortly be uprooted from L.A. to New York. The only problem will be convincing neophytes that the musical tragicomedy — carbon date: 1987 — wasn’t seriously tweaked by returning director James Lapine in reaction to recent events; in this fractured fairy-tale jumble, Act 1 has always been the Grimms Meet Noises Off, while Act 2 inevitably now plays as the Brothers Go to Ground Zero. If Vanessa Williams lacks original witch Bernadette Peters’ comic flair, her regal, maternal haughtiness certainly doesn’t dampen the eventual gravitas, and the less famous players prove perfectly adept at milking tears and giggles, even if the production’s central cow (now played by an actor, not a plastic prop, and hilariously) remains forever dry. The woods may be dark, but the Broadway house the show is moving into shouldn’t be for a long time. (213-628-2772; through March 24)

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