Judging from our brief post-show conversation (and subsequent tweets and Facebook updates), our group’s opinions of the show ran the entire gamut. Personally, I’d recommend waiting until later in the run to see this production.
I liked the concept and design of this production, but there’s a lot of tightening left to do in the performances. But that’s what a preview period is for.
A couple of the performers are already there. In particular, Sarah Stiles is giving a fantastic performance as Little Red Riding Hood, and Kristine Zbornick breathes incredible life into the often thankless role of Jack’s mother. I suspect many more performers will get to their level with just a little more time in these roles.
I worry about one central performance — Denis O’Hare’s baker — that just feels wrong to me. If you hated him in Sweet Charity, you’ll loathe him in Into the Woods. While most of the other performances I took issue with came down to either technical issues (a lot of pitchiness, missed or mislearned notes, etc.) or issues of intensity (hitting the marks but not quite making me believe these characters exist between scenes), O’Hare’s approach to the baker — in my opinion — just isn’t workable. Maybe others feel differently, but if this production were to continue to Broadway, I’d hope for either an entire reconception of his approach to the part or a new actor in the role.
I’m grateful to have seen the production, and the whole day’s experience with so many friends old and new was amazing. But It’s frustrating to see a show that’s not quite on its feet yet.