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Duncan Little Theatre prepares production of 'Into the Woods'

DUNCAN  Timing is always essential in the success of a theatric endeavor, including the element of timing the release of a new production.

So it was in 1987, when Steven Sondheim decided to release "Into the Woods," a complex musical based on a book by James Lapine.

Sondheim chose to bring "Into the Woods" to Broadway at a time there was not a plethora of musicals on stage in New York, but the quality of productions that year was a little daunting. Making its Broadway debut in 1987 was a historically based musical titled "Les Miserables," which logged over 6,600 performances.

Also in competition with "Into the Woods" in 1987 were several long-running Broadway musicals ("Cats," "A Chorus Line" and "Oh! Calcutta"), while looming ahead in 1988 was the opening of a musical called "The Phantom of the Opera," which has since racked up 12,000 straight performances on The Great White Way.

"Into the Woods," whose cast included Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason and Chip Zien, won a Tony Award in 1987 and staged 765 performances between 1987 and 1989. Then the musical seemed to fade away.

"Seemed" is the key word. In 2014, Sondheim and the folks at Disney released a movie version of "Into the Woods" that brought the musical out of mothballs. With a cast led by Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, the film "Into the Woods" grossed $213 million and won three Academy Awards and three Golden Globe nominations.

The Lawton Constitution

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