main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Characters: Into the Woods

The Baker

What if I just wasn't meant to have children?

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.

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.
  • Dropped A Bridge On Her: She's trampled by a tree felled by the Giantess.
  • Everyone Calls Her Barkeep
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Woman
  • 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.
  • Parenting the Husband: At least initially, she's sterner and more pragmatic than her husband.


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.

Jack's Mother

Jack, Jack, Jack, head in a sack!

Jack's browbeaten single mother determined to make their lives better.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: She wishes to better her and Jack's lives. Jack slays the Giant and steals their treasures, making him and his mother wealthy — but spurs the Giantess's anger.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder: She's the one always keeping her idiot son in line.
  • Last Request: To the Baker, to protect Jack.
  • Mama Bear: She was pretty brave (and stupid) for standing up to a giant, telling her that she will protect her son at all costs.
  • My Beloved Smother: She's always trying to control Jack's actions. Justified, though, as Jack can cause catastrophic damage if left alone.
  • Only Sane Woman: Her son is not that bright.

Little Red Riding Hood

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.
  • Axe Crazy
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: "You can talk to birds?"
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: She's supposed to be young and cute...until she pulls a knife on you.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Seemingly has very little regard for everybody else at first. This is played for humor. Part of her storyline is learning morality.
  • Knife Nut: Given to her by her grandmother for protection. She's not afraid to brandish it on a stranger for the smallest slight.
  • Large Ham: Depending on the production, her screaming can be either heartbreaking or hilarious.
  • Little Miss Badass: She's a young girl.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: She does get eaten by the wolf, and needs to be rescued. After that, though? For starters, she made her new cloak herself — from the wolf's pelt.
  • Took a Level in Badass
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Had she not goaded Jack to return to the Giant's castle and steal the harp, the Giantess would not have been so angry. Of course, all the main characters are to blame.

The Wolf

Hello, little girl...

The Big Bad Wolf, a hungry and insatiable hunter on the lookout for his next meal.

The Witch

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.
  • Above Good and Evil
    "I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right."
  • 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.
  • Brought Down to Normal: She loses her powers at the end of Act I.
  • Badass: Especially considering that she's a character in a Broadway Musical about fairy tales.
  • Broken Bird: Her misanthropy and belief that "the world is dark and wild" must come from somewhere, although we never learn exactly what happened. We do get a hint when she sings Lament:
    Couldn't you stay content / safe behind walls / as I / could not?
  • Casting Gag: A 2012 production features Donna Murphy, who previously voiced Rapunzel's stepmother in Disney's Tangled, as the witch.
  • Death Glare: The filmed version (and several stage versions) have her deliver a glorious (and often hilarious) one to the Baker when he says, "Giants never strike the same place twice."
  • Dark Action Girl: Does several evil deeds, and is probably the biggest Badass in the show.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: One interpretation of the end of "Last Midnight."
  • Driven to Suicide: Another. Of course, whether or not she actually died is debatable.
  • Evil Matriarch
  • 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 "Children Will Listen" at the end.
  • Knight Templar Parent
  • Hypocrite: She participates in the song "Your Fault", but then when the ultimate blame falls on her, she accuses them of only caring about the blame ("Last Midnight").
  • Large Ham
  • My Beloved Smother
  • 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.
  • Rhymes on a Dime
  • Vain Sorceress
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Rapunzel's death, quickly leading to "Last Midnight" and her subsequent abandonment of the rest of the cast.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "Last Midnight" is one big one to all the main characters.

The Narrator

Once upon a time . . . later.

The cheery, intelligent narrator of the story.

  • Anyone Can Die: Even the narrator.
    • "You're going to be on the INSIDE, now!"
  • 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 from the Giantess's hand and killed. Possibly concerned with the subsequent events of the story without the Narrator, the Baker's Wife points out: "We might have thought of something else."
  • First-Person Smartass
  • Interactive Narrator
  • Infant Immortality: In the productions where The Narrator is a child this is completely averted and he's still killed by the Giantess in the story.
  • Lemony Narrator: Ends up biting him in the ass. See below.
  • Only Sane Man
  • 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.


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.

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Possibly postpartum depression.
  • The Ditz
  • Driven to Suicide: One interpretation of her running into the path of the Giant's foot.
  • Dropped A Bridge On Her: Or perhaps more accurately, a foot.
  • Dumb Blonde: Rapunzel shows elements of this in act one.
  • Girl in the Tower: Of course. Deconstructed as well, as all that isolation contributed greatly to her instability.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Played straight in Act I; her mental instability subverts it by Act II.
  • Hysterical Woman: By the time of her death she's certainly this.
  • 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.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Of course. Her extremely long hair is actually part of the Witch's Fetch Quest. She loses it later.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Finally tells off the Witch for sticking her in a tower all her life, abandoning her, blinding her Prince, and generally being a jerkass.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Even after becoming a princess, she still doesn't have the best grip on life. She was kept in a tower her whole life.
  • Screaming Woman: She lets out a loud scream at the end of the "Agony" reprise.
  • The Soprano: Averted by her character, but vocally? You'd better believe it.
  • Swiss Army Tears: Her tears heal her prince's blindness, as in the original.
  • 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.

Cinderella's Prince

I was raised to be charming, not sincere.

Cinderella's prince, who falls in love with her after dancing with her at the ball.

  • Afraid of Blood
    But even one prick - it's my thing about blood!
  • The Casanova: Associated by his character quote.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Off to bring down the Giant...and who's this lovely thing?
  • Large Ham
  • 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.

Rapunzel's Prince

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.
  • Large Ham: Engaging in Ham-to-Ham Combat with his brother.
  • Prince Charmless
  • Why Did It Have To Be Dwarves?: He's evidently terrified of dwarfs. Unfortunately for him, they're the only thing standing between him and his next fling, Snow White.

The Giantess

"That boy stole our gold, our hen, and our harp. Then he killed my husband! I must avenge the wrongdoing."

Cinderella's Father

The closer to the family, the closer to the wine.

The Steward

"The greater the good, the harder the blow"
  • 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.
  • Karma Houdini
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat

The Mysterious Man

In the HeightsCharacterSheets/TheaterJesus Christ Superstar

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy