An average working man whose greatest wish is to have a child. Unfortunately, the Witch cursed him to be barren due to a perceived slight by his father. She gives three days for him and his wife to bring her Jack's cow, Red Riding Hood's cloak, Cinderella's slipper, and some of Rapunzel's hair.
Action Survivor: He is in no way trained to conquer the obstacles he comes across, but does so nonetheless.
Be Careful What You Wish For: His wish for a son is granted, but when revisited in "So Happy" he and his wife complain that they have no room. In the ensuing chaos, his wife is killed.
Stay in the Kitchen: This is the Baker's attitude in the beginning of the first act (both literally and figuratively), but he gets over it.
The Baker's Wife
But you have a princess. And I have a... baker.
The, well, Baker's Wife, a determined and practical woman who is a romantic at heart. Like him, she is motivated by the desire for a child, although she frequently asks after Cinderella's prince when she encounters the latter.
Bad Bad Acting: When she tries to get Jack to trade/buy the magic beans for the cow. "Oh... Oh! Oh no, we mustn't give up our beans!"
Death by Sex: She's offed shortly after her affair with Cinderella's prince.
Happily Married: Although she cheats on her husband, they seem very happily married.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Moments in the Woods", the Baker's Wife sings "I'm in the wrong story". According to Word of God, Sondheim added this line after he realized that the story of the baker and his wife feels much more contemporary than the others. Joanna Gleason, who played the Baker's Wife, felt like her character was in the wrong story, and so did Sondheim. He felt like this needed acknowledgement.
Loving a Shadow: Every time she talks to Cinderella, she sighs after the handsome Prince... but this is mostly envy for the glamorous life she associates with Princes; she later realizes her husband has many princely qualities of his own.
Your Cheating Heart: Shows minor signs of this throughout the show, longing for every prince she sees though already married. After she does commit adultery with Cinderella's prince, she spends her last song basically trying to justify her actions to herself.
But Mother, no! Not Milky White - he's the best cow!
The feckless protagonist of Jack and the Beanstalk. Here, his story starts out much the same — he trades his beloved cow to the Baker for a handful of magic beans, and goes on to slay the giant he finds at the top of the beanstalk that grows from the beans.
Berserk Button: Depending on the production, don't you ever DARE call him a liar.
And though scary is exciting, Nice is different than Good.
The protagonist of Little Red Riding Hood, a strong-willed and fearless young girl hampered by her curiosity and naivete. Straying off the beaten path on her way to her grandmother's house lead to her discovering many things.
Action Girl: Shows signs of this in Act II, if some of her tropes below indicate anything.
Big Eater: Between the prologue and reaching Granny's, she eats nearly the entire basket of goods she was meant to bring a loaf of bread, a sticky bun (or four), and a few pies. She is even eating when she isn't singing her orders.
I'm not Good, I'm not Nice, I'm just Right. I'm the Witch.
Neighbor to the Baker and his wife and foster mother to Rapunzel. She's the one who cursed them to be barren, but cannot undo the curse until they complete her Fetch Quest. While vain, self-serving, and sarcastic, as the show goes on the viewers see that she's insecure, lonely, and ultimately just as human as everybody else.
Abusive Parents: Locks her adopted daughter in a tower all her life, and then gets snippy when the girl wants to leave. Based on some of her lyrics in The Witch's Lament, she may gone too far to preserve Rapunzel's characteristics.
Anti-Villain: She cursed the Baker's family, she was overprotective of her daughter, she wanted to sacrifice Jack to make the Giantess go away, AND she started throwing beans during The Last Midnight to summon more giants, but she was NOT the villain of the play.
For the Evulz: Because watching the Baker's father cry and the Baker's mother die when she claimed Rapunzel wasn't enough to mollify the Witch, she cursed the Baker to never have children.
I Was Quite a Looker: She appears as an ugly old hag, but when she drinks the potion she's reverted to her beautiful past self.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Witch is more than just a classic villain, especially considering her moment of anguish after Rapunzel dies, and the fact that she, of all people, is the one who sings the beautiful "ChildrenWillListen" at the end.
Only Sane Woman: The Witch has elements of this in Act Two, when she shows herself to be the only person who understands the gravity of the situation, and the unpleasant things that may need to be done to solve it.
Could Have Avoided This Plot: When the characters try to offer the Narrator to the Giantess as a sacrifice, the Narrator reminds them that the story would be lost if he was obliterated. Regardless of this, however, the Witch gives the Narrator to the Giantess anyway, and as soon as the Giantess sees that the Narrator isn't Jack, the Narrator is dropped spoiler:from the Giantess' hand and killed. Possibly concerned of the subsequent events of the story without the Narrator, the Baker's Wife points out: "We might have thought of something else."
Rage Against the Author: The rest of the characters essentially feed him to the giant, although it's the Witch that does it right after the other characters realize how lost they would be without him. See above for details.
The Runaway: Several new productions turn the narrator into a young boy instead of a grown man with the addition of a new Book Ends story where he runs away to live in the woods after a fight with his father. Said father is revealed to be played by the same actor as The Baker and is the one who told the boy the story in the first place.
What's the good in being kind if everyone is blind, and you're always left behind?
Kind, gentle, earnest, and downtrodden by her stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella's greatest wish is to attend the royal family's festival. There, one of the princes falls in love with her, but she fears that he will not love her should he realize she is a peasant.
Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had she not thrown away the bean that the Baker's Wife traded her for her slipper, the Giantess would have no way to climb down and wreak havoc. Of course, all the main characters are to blame in one way or another.
I was lonely atop that tower!
Protagonist of Rapunzel. The Witch's ward, a beautiful but unstable maiden whom the Witch locked in a tower for her entire life.
Long-Lost Relative: She's the Baker's younger sister, who was taken at birth from their parents because their father stole greens from the Witch's garden for their mother. Only the Witch acknowledges this in-story, however.
Mood-Swinger: It's mentioned by her prince in Act II that she swings moods pretty quickly.
The Ophelia: She's lovely, but unstable thanks to her time in the tower and the Witch's treatment of her.
Teen Pregnancy: Implied as much. The witch took her when she was a newborn, and she mentions to the Witch in Act II that she was kept in the tower for fourteen years.
The Unintelligible: Rapunzel only has a few scenes where she actually talks. The rest of the show, she expresses her feelings by "humming a lighthearted air" and screaming. Somewhat lampshaded by her prince. After the reprise of "Agony," Rapunzel, out of nowhere, lets out an enormous scream. The prince doesn't look the slightest bit shocked and says "Rapunzel," in deadpan.
I was raised to be charming, not sincere.
Cinderella's prince, who falls in love with her after dancing with her at the ball.
Prince Charmless: After he engaged himself with the Baker's Wife, he immediately told her that it was just a moment in the woods, meaning it's something that was never to happen again. His womanizing ways result in the Baker's Wife staying in the area where she dies and Cinderella leaving him because of his brief affair.
Royals Who Actually Try To Do Something: He never actually finds the Giant, but besides Cinderella herself, he's the only member of the royal family to actually get off his ass and go looking for her.
Your Cheating Heart: Even after getting married to Cinderella, he still has a dalliance with the Baker's Wife and ends up with Sleeping Beauty.
Aaaaaagonyyyyy! Far more painful than yours!
Cinderella's prince's younger brother, who falls in love with Rapunzel.
The Casanova: It's bad that he was taking interest in another woman, but it's partially justified considering his wife was killed and suffering from hysteria prior to her death, he most likely had to have someone help him raise his children.
Eye Scream: He's blinded by falling into thorns after the witch pushes him from the tower. He gets better.
Hypocrite: He defends his killing of Jack's mother as being necessary for the greater good, but when witch suggests that it's in his line of duty to sacrifice his life, he immediately declares that he's not dying for anyone.
Like Father, Like Son: Towards the end of "No More", he and the Baker both say this. This naturally convinces the Baker not to run away and help stop the Giantess.
Luke, I Am Your Father: He's the Baker and Rapunzel's father, although only the Baker ever finds this out. He doesn't actually say it, though, preferring to remain unknown; it's the Witch who spills the beans.