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YMMV: Into the Woods

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Are the Princes well-meaning guys with bad impulse control, spoiled by a life that has offered them no challenges at all, or sleazy, manipulative bastards who take advantage of any opportunity to get laid? Or some combination of the two? The script leaves them open to played in both ways, including anywhere on the spectrum between them. This is especially the case for Cinderella's Prince, who gets more screen time and has more impact on the story than his brother; he's very quick to jump on the Baker's Wife, but he does genuinely seem to care about Cinderella.
    • Rapunzel's prince can come off very differently depending upon how the actor plays his reaction to her insanity, and his reaction to her death can be played as either cowardice or grief.
    • Cinderella's Father. In the original production, her father seems to have selfishly abandoned her to his wife and stepdaughters (and quick to change when his real daughter gets to marry the prince), whereas the revival plays him as being "not all there," implying he simply does not realize Cinderella's situation. The film version avoids this issue by killing him off. Cinderella's Mother-In-The-Grave gets this, too. The original plays her as a Stage Mom whereas the revival plays her lines em pathetically.
  • Chorus-Only Song: "Children Will Listen" actually has a short introductory verse that was not used in any of the main productions. However, it was recorded for the revue "Sondheim on Sondheim" and singers occasionally use it when recording the song on its own.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Why is Cinderella's prince so sick upon the sight of blood in the slipper? It's his thing about blood.
    • Why did it take the Giant's wife so long to seek revenge as Act 2 takes place at least 9 months after the third midnight in Act 1? The first beanstalk grew from 5 beans which increased the potency of the magic and power. There was only 1 bean for the stalk that the Gaint's wife took. It took a while for it to become strong enough to grow that tall.
  • Fridge Horror: The characters are trapped in a circular time loop. At the end of Act 2, the Baker begins to tell the story to his son, using the same words the Narrator used in Act 1. In essence, he becomes the Narrator. This does not bode well for his future happiness - or that of his son, who would of course, become apprenticed to work in the Bakery, when he becomes old enough. They're all condemned to repeat the same story, over and over again, for ever.
    • Averted in that they can avoid the mistakes of the past and atone for them. The Baker, for one, isn't abandoning his child unlike what happened with him.
    • Interestingly, in the 2012 Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park production, the Mysterious Man is played by Chip Zien, who played the Baker in the original cast.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: You know that weird scene where all the characters suddenly walk on stage and tell some kind of philosophical phrase to the audience? Out of the blue, for no particular reason? Yeah, a good amount of them are some pretty dark foreshadowing...
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Witch may be mean, but the interactions with her and Rapunzel...
  • Win Back the Crowd: The first trailer for the film showed none of the singing and was met with mixed reaction among fans. Later trailers showed the singing and increased anticipation for the film.

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