To lift a witch's curse, a baker and his wife must undertake a quest in the woods, where they meet such fairy-tale characters as Cinderella and Little Red Ridinghood. Most fairy tales, like most musicals, end happily ever after -- but in the tangled darkness of these woods, nothing is quite that simple. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine were inspired to write Into the Woods after reading The Uses of Enchantment, a 1976 book by child therapist Bruno Bettelheim. Bettelheim argued that fairy tales were not just light, escapist fare for children but also powerful allegories of children's experiences moving into the dangerous world of adulthood.
Into the Woods opened on Broadway in 1987 and has won an impressive clutch of awards, including:
1987 Tony Awards for best score, best book and best actress
1997 Drama Desk Awards for best musical, best book and best lyrics
New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best musical