Nice is Different Than Good

I’ve mentioned it before, but during my senior year of high school, the music and theater department produced Into the Woods. As a member of the top choir, participating was part of my grade, and while I auditioned for the witch, I was sick and wasn’t able to sing worth a damn that day, and I ended up as Cinderella’s step-mother. Into the Woods was a fun, challenging musical, but I daresay it was the best musical we did during my four years there (which included Once Upon a Mattress, Music Man, and South Pacific). When I was auditioning for vocal performance scholarships, one of the professors was quite surprised we’d performed the musical, and I could hear the incredulity in her voice and the unasked question, “And was it any good?”

It was damn good.

But it’s funny, because as Red Riding Hood so aptly puts it, “I know things now, many valuable things, that I hadn’t known before.” While I understood intellectually some of the themes of the musical when I was in high school, watching the film adaptation nearly fifteen years later put some things in stark relief. The Baker’s Wife’s “Moments In The Woods” has a far deeper meaning than it did when I was in high school, and while I always got the innuendo in Little Red’s “I Know Things Now,” there were other things I simply couldn’t appreciate about the story and its themes until I was indeed older.  In high school, I loved the mishmash of fairy tales and how musical explored what happens after happily ever after. As an adult, I appreciate so much more.

The movie was fun. Great. I absolutely loved the voices of the cast and promptly downloaded not just the soundtrack, but the special edition soundtrack that’s the movie’s entire score (at least, that’s what it looks like: I haven’t started listening to it on repeat yet). If you’re a fan of the musical, you should know the second act has been heavily adapted. Some things happen that weaken the power and the motivation of the Witch’s “The Last Midnight,” and the movie doesn’t do the proper time jump between acts, which would’ve helped a lot for the uninitiated viewer, and helped really drive the themes home at the end. Be that as it may, I went with a friend who’d never seen the musical (or sang in it), so we had a good discussion afterwards. She enjoyed it, and I made her promise to see the stage production with Bernadette Peters on DVD/BluRay because it’s amazing and it’s what we all memorized when we did this back in high school.

And while I downloaded the movie’s soundtrack, I really want to dig through my old boxes and find my copy of the original Broadway recording. Hearing the music just brings back memories, and this musical is a delight.

To be fair, I would really love to see if anyone has a video recording of my high school‘s performance of it. Because that would be hysterically awesome and scary to watch. Scary, because hey, looking at an 18 year-old-version of myself, and also the fear: what if we weren’t as good as I thought we were? There is an inherent weirdness in high schoolers playing all the roles, where watching the movie, the age difference really helps drive the points and themes home. But still: it’d be awesome to watch.


Currently Writing: Codename: Magic Twins
Last night’s word count: 688 words
Total word count: 8,230 words
If you’re a writer, do you know how you get those moments where you think of something for your plot and you realize you’re actually an evil genius? I had one of those moments today, but the trick is how to make it work without completely deflating and depressing the reader. Must ponder.

Currently Reading: Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance
I got to read today before and after chili consumption. Good deal. I’ve just hit a plot detail that has perplexed me, and I want to keep reading to find out what this crazy story is all about. Damn those Golden Globes for distracting me…

Next up: Monday, work day, yay? I have a counseling session tomorrow, and I know my husband will be engrossed watching the National Championship Game. Fun times. Oh, it’s gonna be a crazy week….

Today’s headline brought to you from — you guessed it! — Into The Woods. You can hear Lila Crawford’s rendition of “I Know Things Now” here. Damn, this girl is good.

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