Opera Laurier’s ‘Into the Woods’ 

Nostalgic, hilarious, and sorrowful, Opera Laurier’s performance of the musical ‘Into the Woods’ brings maturity, nuance and moral ambiguity into the fairy tales many of us grew up with. Written by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim in 1986, ‘Into the Woods’ explores intersections between four Brothers Grimm fairy tales and sees them through beyond their “happily ever after.”   

In the first act, the fairy tales of childhood are explored as they connect to one another. Jack’s magic beans, Cinderella’s malicious family, Rapunzel’s sheltered tower and Little Red’s adventures through the woods fit together neatly  – as only fairy tales can.   

Following comfortable and familiar arcs, the stories are nostalgic, charming and fun to revisit. The cast is brilliant and expressive – from the dancing and rapping witch to the hilarious duo of princes. 

 The second act takes us further into the forest, with moral ambiguity at every turn and complex themes surrounding blame, parent-child relationships and the nature of desire. With expressive, emotional ballads and more mature subject matter, the audience cannot help but feel as though the fairy tales grew up with us.   

Opera Laurier’s ‘Into the Woods’ represents a divergence from traditional opera territory and an exploration into musical theatre. While retaining some operatic elements (such as a libretto,) the performance is traditionally a musical. Opera Laurier’s ‘Into the Woods’ justifies their investment of effort by serving a performance undoubtedly worth watching.   

“I hope people get this sense of moral ambiguity out of [the musical], this feeling of is it right or is it wrong…there’s so many moments of that,” shares Yousuf on what she hopes the audience can expect to receive from the performance.   

“The industry is changing, there is more musical theatre in opera spaces and the divide is becoming less,” shares actress and choreographer Nuha Yousuf.  

A perfect fit for anyone looking to explore the world of familiar fairy tales with a twist, the show is free for Laurier faculty and students. Performances of the show will take place this weekend and next at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Theatre Auditorium Mar. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Mar. 10 at 3:00 p.m., Mar. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and Mar.16 at 6:30p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at EventBrite and are free for Laurier Faculty and Students, with discounts for seniors. 

Contributed Photos/Kaela Bosch Captures

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