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Is Into the Woods an original musical? 
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Young Hoofer
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Post Is Into the Woods an original musical?
This question occurred to me when I was thinking about which of Sondheim's shows are original (a lot, as it turns out) and when I came to thinking about this show, my immediate thought was, yes it is. We all know that there are many original ideas and events in the show, and that many of the characters are spun in original ways, but is it really original? All of the base or core material is derivative of the Brothers Grimm stories. I couldn't come up with a conclusive answer.

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Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:18 pm
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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
SweeneyTad wrote:
This question occurred to me when I was thinking about which of Sondheim's shows are original (a lot, as it turns out) and when I came to thinking about this show, my immediate thought was, yes it is. We all know that there are many original ideas and events in the show, and that many of the characters are spun in original ways, but is it really original? All of the base or core material is derivative of the Brothers Grimm stories. I couldn't come up with a conclusive answer.


I think a lot of the core characters/some of the stories are based on elements of Brother Grimm (I haven't read all the stories, so I can't say for sure) but there is also some variation of it.

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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
Well I thought about that, but is it REALLY original? The entire show is derivative of these stories.

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Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:30 am
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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
I would call it having original elements (i.e. Baker & his wife), etc. but not completely original.... maybe more a compilation of different fairy tales? I don't know...

Haha, you raise an excellent point.

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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
Of course it's an original musical. The score and book were created by himself and James Lapine. The CONCEPT for the show is a super-adaptation of the Grimm fairy tales. But the show itself, as well as all of Act 2, are completely original. It's just like Sunday in the Park With George. It's an adaptation of Seurat's painting. The characters and story are totally fictionalized, which brings beauty and irony to the saying, "I made a hat where the never was a hat". But yes, both shows are brilliant examples of adaptation at its finest.

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Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:36 pm
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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
I understand that Lapine and Sondheim took many liberties with developing the characters, and the second act is certainly original material, but can you truly say it's original when the characters are taken directly from existing material along with their characteristics and objectives?

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Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:03 pm
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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
Jman383 wrote:
Of course it's an original musical. The score and book were created by himself and James Lapine.


Also, these are not qualifications of an original musical...?

Moreover, Sunday is not an adaption of the painting, rather an exploration of the little known life of George Seurat and friends, for lack of a better subcategory.

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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
Well, I guess we all have different views of what constitutes as original. If you're looking for a show that has no inspiration or isn't derived from anything, there are far too few original musicals out there. There are far too few original books out there as well. I guess you don't consider Shakespeare original either. Or even the Grimm fairy tales themselves to be original. They're all based on existing stories, but changed, translated and adapted for a different culture/medium. In my opinion, this makes them original. Furthermore, the way the stories n ITW are woven together and especially the existence of the second act makes it unquestionably original. So what if some of the characters come from the Grimms? The Grimms certainly didn't write them this way.

Also, Sunday is in fact an adaptation. It comes directly from an existing source. Furthermore, we know enough about Seurat's life to know that most if not all of the story in the show is completely fictionalized. Not only did Dot never exist, but his children never survived.

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Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:35 am
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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
There's inspiration and there is flat-out pulling from a source. Not that there's anything wrong with pulling from a source to make changes or adaptations to it, but the question still stands as to whether one could TRULY call Into the Woods and original musical. There are certainly many aspects of the show that are completely original, (yes, we know the second act is original) but when there is so much taken directly from a source, be it Brothers Grimm or otherwise (and they are widely credited with those stories, and the actual source of the material is irrelevant), it's difficult to say it is original.

Also, Shakespeare wrote SOME original works ( I think. Maybe it was a ghost writer the whole time :O )

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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
Okay, fair enough. There is legitimate debate. Although I say, despite it being an adaptation, it's definitely original in its concepts and its book. Oh, and for the record, the only "truly" original play Shakespeare wrote is said to be "The Tempest", but even that is up for debate. All of his plays were derived from existing folklore and obviously history.

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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
Well, like other people are saying, "original" is sort of hard to define in this case. I, however, would say it is original. It's not the the only time people have interconnected and retold fairy tales, but it's own version of the tales and it's Lapine and Sondheim writing and music that they created themselves, so I think it's original.


Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:37 pm
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Post Re: Is Into the Woods an original musical?
plus the main plot of the baker and his wife are Lapine's creation.

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