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Who is the Monster & Who is the Man? Paper Mill Playhouse’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME Review

March 20, 2015 Blog, Review 1 Comment

Logo for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” production. Courtesy of D23.com.

(Heads up! There will be spoilers in this review!)

I will be the first to admit that I was very nervous about this adaption of one of my favorite Disney films of all time, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” I had read in various articles that the Disney Theatrical Group (the musical production branch of the Walt Disney Company) had decided to take a different approach in adapting the film to stage then previous productions featured at the Disney theme parks, which included Disneyland’s “Festival of Fools” and Walt Disney World’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure” (both very different but fantastically staged shows).

This new stage adaptation would take the most memorable aspects of the 1996 film while integrating Victor Hugo’s original story line, making the production have a more nitty-gritty look to it while keeping the same atmosphere of the tale we have all come to know and love.


Quasimodo (Michael Arden) and the ensemble on stage at Paper Mill Playhouse. Photo courtesy of Disney and the Paper Mill Playhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

It would not be fair to go into this production with any specific expectations of it being similar to its other stage predecessors and the film, as it was established as its own entity. Soon after walking through Paper Mill Playhouse’s theatre doors and immersing myself into Quasimodo’s World of Notre Dame, stronger appreciation materialized for this tortured soul’s journey, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz’s timeless score and learning what makes a monster but, more importantly, what makes a man.

The show is an overall ensemble piece, as each performer acts as a storyteller for their individual character/characters (calling back to Disneyland’s “Festival of Fools” production which used a troupe of actors to tell the classic story). “The Bells of Notre Dame” opening number acts as an exposition song for Claude Frollo’s (played by Patrick Page) back story, as he arrives at Notre Dame with his brother, Jehan Frollo (played by Jeremy Stolle). Both men are excited to further their careers in the church but Jehan strays from his studies, is thrown out of the cathedral and runs away with his true love, who is a gypsy. Years later, Frollo is summoned to Jehan’s deathbed, as Jehan pleads to Frollo to take care of his newborn, who is part Romani. Even though Frollo is disgusted with his brother’s past relations and the disfiguration of the baby, he takes the child in for his brother’s sake (naming him Quasimodo, or “Half-formed”) and hides him away in the Notre Dame cathedral.


Claude Frollo (Patrick Page) struggling with his inner demons at the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Photo courtesy of Disney and the Paper Mill Playhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Fast forward 20 years later, we are then introduced to Quasimodo (played by Michael Arden, who transforms into his character right before the crowd, using no prosthetics– only the audience’s imagination) and his “gargoyles”/Quasimodo’s thoughts (portrayed by the entire ensemble, wearing gray, Monk-like cloaks; very clever presentation of these characters), as Quasi expresses his dream to finally leave his lonely bell tower by going “Out There.” He soon meets and falls in love with a Romani woman named Esmeralda (played by Ciara Renée), who Frollo has also developed feelings for that gradually grow into something far more sinister and evil. A demented but divine love triangle begins and stirs plenty of emotion from the audience as it soon releases angels and demons found in reality.

Even though I consider myself to be a Disney HBOND film purist and a big fan of the MGM Studios 40-minute musical at Walt Disney World, I had a difficult time finding anything to dislike about this adaption. Each member of the cast fulfills their role with great enthusiasm while also adding their own take on each character’s journey; Michael Arden morphs effortlessly into an abused and torture soul, Ciara Renée dances with plenty of gusto & attitude while retaining a pure heart as the hopeful Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky delivers heart to Captain Phoebus, Patrick Page shows Frollo’s constant inner struggle with his devotion to the church & his lust for Esmeralda, and the ensemble work together as a life-form that metamorphoses from gargoyles to townsfolk to Romani.

What I really love about this production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is that it does not shy away from addressing controversial subjects, including racism, oppression and sexual harassment (hence, why the production is not titled *Disney’s* The Hunchback of Notre Dame, even though it is produced by the Company). As a society, we face these odious trials and tribulations each and every day, which is why this story still rings true and hits home for all audience members. From the beginning, Frollo’s racism towards the Romani (or “gypsies,” as he addresses them) is evident in his hatred for Quasimodo’s mother and even Quasimodo, himself, believing they were the reason behind his brother’s “downfall”/happiness. Even though Quasimodo adores and loves Frollo, his feelings of love and kindness are never returned, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when Quasimodo comes to Esmeralda’s defense after Frollo says she is evil, saying, “But, she was kind to *me*…” Esmeralda treats Quasi with friendly affection that he has never known and she comes to his defense as he is physically and mentally abused by Frollo.


The two lovers, Phoebus (Andrew Samonsky) and Esmeralda (Ciara Renée), share a loving moment. Photo courtesy of Disney and the Paper Mill Playhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

In one of the most disturbing scenes in the production, we have the final confrontation between Frollo and Esmeralda the night before she sentenced to be burned at the stake for “witch craft” (but the real reason being that she does not return Frollo’s “love”). Frollo offers a final ultimatum to Esmeralda: become his mistress or die. And she chooses the latter, for good reason, proving just another reason why she is one of the greatest Disney leading ladies out there (I would argue in the literary and film world as well); her bravery and courage is something I know we would all aspire to have within ourselves. The audience holds its breath as Frollo grabs Esmeralda and tries to force himself on her while her screams of protest echo through the theater. After she pushes him away, Frollo has Phoebus brought into the cell to rethink his offer in becoming his mistress (for a few moments, I thought Frollo was going to have Phoebus killed right in front of Esmeralda to “send her a message”; it would have been a shocking and emotional death of a character if it was included). I would argue that the following scene is the most emotionally stirring in the entire play, as Esmeralda tells Phoebus she will never understand the cruelty towards others who are seen as different beings because of their race or their appearance. With the song “Someday” (originally featured in the HBOMD film but was cut & replaced by “God Help the Outcasts”), Phoebus and Esmeralda dream of a time in the distant future where equality for all will reign supreme, singing “Change will come; someday, one day… Soon.”

One thing previous Disney theme park stage shows of Hunchback lacked in plot and musical score was Frollo’s twisted but memorable “Hellfire” number, which really delves into the character’s psyche. Not only is the song included in its full glory but New Jersey’s Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus accompanies Page’s bold performance (with a count of 32 members in the choir), who are also singing throughout the production in pews that have been incorporated to the modest but meaningful set of the rafters in Notre Dame where Quasimodo lives (a similar design to the Walt Disney World stage show set). My only suggestion in amping up the visual attributes of this scene would be to incorporate a fire place or fire-like display that grows and grows until it can no longer be contained, like Frollo’s lust for Esmeralda as portrayed in the infamous movie sequence. While Quasimodo sees Esmeralda as an angel of “Heaven’s Light,” Frollo sees her as a demon from Hell (hence, the title of “Hellfire”) and thus, begins his fall into madness. As strange as it may sound, this song is one of my personal favorites on the HBOND soundtrack, as it is the best villain song ever written for a Disney film; so, as you can imagine, I was in Hunchback Heaven while Page’s Frollo was descending into “Hellfire” damnation (and he nailed it square on the head as he scorched the stage, no pun intended!).

That being said, I feel that Frollo’s character has even more potential to show his darker, demonic side during his final confrontation with Quasimodo after Esmeralda dies; in the film, he attempts to kill Quasimodo out of jealousy and hate but is overpowered by the bell ringer. Rather than have Quasimodo himself throw Frollo from the cathedral (as it is told in the original Victor Hugo story), it should be Frollo’s own actions that cause his undoing, as Quasimodo murdering him takes away from the moral of the story: “What makes a monster and what makes a man?” Even though Frollo is responsible for the death of Esmeralda and the unforgivable pain that Quasimodo has endured all his life, would it be right for Quasimodo to stoop to Frollo’s level and become the monster he has always feared?

During the D23 talk back event with lyricist Stephen Schwartz that took place after the Hunchback performance, Schwartz addressed the development and expansion of Phoebus’ character and how it has been a work-in-progress to build him a wider story arc since early Hunchback workshops. As Phoebus in the musical is a far cry from Victor Hugo’s character in the novel (Phoebus is portrayed as a mean-spirited womanizer in the book and even watches Esmeralda be put to death with no remorse), this production has the opportunity to take some of the dry-humor and nobility of the character of Phoebus in Disney’s film adaption of Hunchback and combine that with the emotionally scarred soldier we meet in Paper Mill’s production to flesh out the character even more. It would have been nice to have had an additional scene featuring just Quasimodo and Esmeralda speaking to and learning more about one another, as Arden and Renée’s chemistry is unstoppable (proven by their lovely duet called “Top of the World,” which is one of the many new additions to the score). Another new character relationship that is touched upon in the musical is with Clopin, the leader of the Romani people, and Esmeralda; they have an affectionate, yet stubborn brother-sisterlike bond that provides great incentive to have its own musical number where the characters have a heart-to-heart (think “No Matter What” from Beauty and the Beast on Broadway but a bit edgier).

While I have read many concerned posts about this latest stage adaptation, HBOND fans have not a thing to worry about. The production is in perfect hands, thanks to the passionate creative team made-up of original lyricist and composer, Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, respectively, associate director Jeremy Scott Lapp, choreographer Chase Brock and director Scott Schwartz (Stephen Schwartz’s son).

It still has not been officially confirmed (as of this review being published) that Hunchback will be making its way to Broadway in the near future, but it is safe to presume that with a few additions and changes in the production, we will be ringing the bells of Notre Dame along with Quasimodo, Esmeralda and friends for a national tour of the show, or a shot on Broadway. We can only hope that it will be one day, someday soon.


Quasimodo (Michael Arden) and Esmeralda (Ciara Renée) dream of a better life at the “Top of the World.” Photo courtesy of Disney and the Paper Mill Playhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Have you seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know by commenting on this post, Facebooking us, tweeting us or emailing us!

Here are some of my Fun Five Favorites for The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse-

Favorite Standout Lead Performance: Michael Arden. If this production gets to Broadway (which I really hope it does!), Arden will win a Tony Award, without a doubt.

Favorite Funny Joke: Phoebus- You almost fight as well as a man! Esmeralda- Funny. I was going to say the same thing about you. (Ooo! Burn!)

Favorite Touching Moment: The entire finale. I could not stop sobbing like a baby. Make sure you bring your hankies- I forgot mine at home and I was a mess!

Favorite New Song in the Score: “Someday”- this is sort-of a cheat, as the song was featured in the end credits of the film version, but it deserves to be highlighted.

Favorite Musical Number: A 32-person choir singing “Hellfire” along with Frollo? Yes please!

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Fingers crossed it will have a long Broadway run!

Get tickets to see THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, playing through April 5th at the Paper Mill Playhouse, here!

Tammy Tuckey is the founder and host of The Tiara Talk Show. Feel free to visit the ABOUT THE HOST page for more info or email her here:tammytuckey@thetiaratalkshow.com. Who wouldn’t love a girl like her?! 😉

A Diamond in the Rough: ALADDIN on Broadway Review

March 8, 2015 Blog, Review 1 Comment


Logo for ALADDIN On Broadway.

(Heads up! There will be spoilers in this review!)

Man, am I one lucky girl. I got the chance to celebrate my birthday with more than 1,000 audience members and the original cast of Disney’s ALADDIN ON BROADWAY this past week at the New Amsterdam Theatre. And boy, was it a lot of fun!

First, let me start off by stressing how much I admire those who work on Broadway. From the cast to the crew, these people come together 8 times a week to create a magical experience for each audience member that steps into the world that is Broadway. The crew is always on their toes making sure they hit each light/set/prop cue, while the cast continues to make certain costume changes within 15 seconds. It’s live theatre and anything can happen. So, a big THANK YOU is in order to the cast, the crew and the creative forces behind ALADDIN for putting together a stellar, memorable production.

Disney-animated film purists & “Aladdin” fans will be very pleased with this faithful adaptation to the classic story of Aladdin: a young, poor boy named Aladdin (played by Adam Jacobs) dreams of a life beyond the market place in Agrabah while a young princess named Jasmine (played by Courtney Reed) dreams of a life beyond the palace walls. Jafar (played by Jonathan Freeman, who is also the voice of the Disney villain in the 1992 film), Agrabah’s royal vizier, has his own evil plans to take the throne away from Princess Jasmine’s father, the Sultan (played by Clifton Davis), and become the most powerful man in the world. Throw in a hilarious, fast-talking genie (played by James Monroe Iglehart) and a magic carpet, and you got yourself a Broadway hit.

Jasmine and Aladdin at the palace. Click

Jasmine (Courtney Reed) and Aladdin (Adam Jacobs) at the palace. Click photo to enlarge the image.

The leading couple, Jacobs and Reed, have an adorable, romantic dynamic on-stage as Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively. Reed shines with a new number penned by composer Alan Menken called “These Palace Walls,” which helps forward Jasmine’s character development as someone who growing into her own and wanting to be taken seriously as an individual. Jacobs’ rendition of “Proud of Your Boy,” Howard Ashman’s original song scrapped from the film version of “Aladdin,” will tug at your heartstrings. Before the show’s signature song “A Whole New World,” Aladdin and Jasmine have their first duet after meeting in the market place in a new ballad called “A Million Miles Away,” in which they express how they would like to escape their troubles by running away and beginning a new life.

While both leads are in several various scenes in the show (and I *cannot* believe I am saying this), I feel that there are not enough appearances made by the Genie, featuring him and his magical antics. Besides the plot focusing on Aladdin’s dream in becoming something more than a “street rat” and winning the heart of Princess Jasmine, the core of the story, in my personal opinion, is the friendship between Aladdin and the Genie. In the film, we can clearly see a bond forming between the two characters, as Aladdin shows the Genie he is not like past masters who were selfish and cruel. The strong chemistry between this duo makes it all the more heartbreaking when Aladdin goes back on his promise to free the Genie from his lamp, while the Broadway show seems to gloss over this emotional scene quickly in favor of extra time with newer characters.

"Friend Like Me"- Tony Performance with Original Broadway Cast

Genie (James Monroe Iglehart) and Aladdin (Adam Jacobs) performing “Friend Like Me” with the ensemble at the 2014 Tony Awards. Click photo to enlarge the image.

These three new characters include Aladdin’s childhood friends, who are fellow “street rats,” named Babkak, Omar and Kassim (played by Brandon O’Neill, Jonathan Schwartz and Brian Gonzales, respectively) who, don’t get me wrong, have plenty of funny lines & jokes, are enjoyable characters and have fabulous tight harmonies. But, are they needed to tell Aladdin’s story? No, not at all. To be honest, it felt like three was too big a crowd and upstaged time that could have been given to more scenes between Genie & Aladdin, Iago & Jafar, and the Sultan & Jasmine. If Abu the monkey, Aladdin’s friend in the film, had been kept in the show, there could have been a new musical number featuring tons of acrobatic tricks, including a verse off between Iago and Abu, along with the energetic ensemble (picture a funnier version of “Mambo” from West Side Story). It was great fun to see these two characters at odds in the original film, its following sequels and the T.V. show, so why not revisit and play around with that opportunity?

Not only was Abu nowhere to be found in the Broadway production, but the only presence of Carpet, aka the Magic Carpet, can be found in the “A Whole New World” scene (which I must say was a VERY magical sequence and everything an “Aladdin” fan could wish for; pardon the pun!). With Carpet being another central character in the original film (and a very memorable one at that), the star of his own attraction at Walt Disney World and the “Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” stage show at Disney’s California Adventure (see photo below), it seemed like a no-brainer to cast an acrobat/tumbler to portray the lively magic carpet; yet, it was not meant to be.


Aladdin and Carpet in “Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” stage show at Disney’s California Adventure. Click photo to enlarge the image.

The Sultan’s role is surprisingly small, with no solos or stand-out scenes for the character to be found. It seems like another missed opportunity to have just two small scenes in which the Sultan and Princess Jasmine interact with one another while there are still loose-ends to problems in their relationship, including Jasmine running away from home and being forced to marry so Agrabah has a King that can rule rather than Jasmine ruling herself. A musical number could have been placed in the first act to show both the Sultan and Princess Jasmine’s different viewpoints and frustrations on marriage and who will one day rule the kingdom, but also showing how both are very much alike in their love for each other and Agrabah. Then, by the second act, right before Princess Jasmine’s wedding with Aladdin begins, the Sultan and Jasmine could reprise the same first act duet but this time it would be a quiet heart-to-heart between a father who is about to give his daughter away and suddenly sees her in a different light; she is no longer daddy’s little girl but a mature, young woman who is destined to do great things for her kingdom, with or without a husband. This gives the Sultan more of an incentive to remove the law for good that forces Jasmine to marry a royal suitor after truly listening to what his daughter has to say in the matter and seeing the pureness of Aladdin’s heart.

It was highly entertaining to watch Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) and Don Darryl Rivera (Iago) play off of one another as the main villains in the show. Rivera, who is portraying the character of Iago as a human being in this musical production, had the kids in the audience, as well as the adults, reeling with laughter while suggesting diabolical ideas to the royal vizier. Jafar finally gets his own song (excluding the quick reprise of “Prince Ali”) called “Diamond in the Rough,” in which a tango dance between Aladdin, Iago and Jafar takes place as Iago and Jafar try to convince Aladdin to find the mystical lamp in the Cave of Wonders.

Hands down, the show-stopping number in this production has to be the Genie’s “Friend Like Me.” It is an 8-minute long musical number featuring James Monroe Iglehart (Genie), Adam Jacobs (Aladdin) & the ensemble, which sums up what a Broadway musical is all about. There were magic tricks, amazing acrobats & dancers, fantastic orchestration, a marvelous singer and countless comical moments. Each person on stage gave it their all, with high energy, smiling faces and booming voices; and the audience gave it right back with a thunderous amount of applause that seemed to go on forever (in the best way possible!). Just watching Iglehart and the rest of the ensemble performing the entire number with that level of energy, while constantly singing & dancing, left me just as tired and out of breath as they were when they finished the number; but it was absolutely thrilling!

Iago and Jafar casting a spell. Click to enlarge image.

Iago (Don Darryl Rivera) and Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) casting a spell. Click photo to enlarge image.

By the end of the show, as Aladdin frees the Genie & gets his ‘happily ever after’ by marrying Princess Jasmine, I will admit I started to well up with tears. “Aladdin” was one of the few Disney-animated films I grew up with as a young kid; not only that, I was (and will always be) a huge fan of Robin Williams, especially his performance as the Genie. With it being over six months since the tragic passing of Robin Williams, one of Genie’s last lines in the Broadway show after he is freed from the lamp- “A whole new world, that’s where I’ll be!”- hits home for me, as it did for many other audience members who soon began to cheer even more loudly than they had before after hearing it. Before the curtain fell, the audience and I rose to our feet to give this talented group of performers, both cast and crew, a standing ovation; the experience of the seeing Aladdin on Broadway was just like riding on a magic carpet ride; shining, shimmering, splendid.

ALADDIN on Broadway brings back a ton of nostalgia for those who grew up watching the film as a kid or with their little ones while still giving a fresh, new take on the Arabian Nights’ tale. It includes a perfect cast of actors and actresses who deliver more than 110% of energy and talent in every scene, costumes & sets that are so vibrant & beautifully well-made that they will make you want to travel to Agrabah and the timeless score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice that you can’t help but sing along to. Kids from ages 4 to 87 will fall in love with the tale of Aladdin and his friends all over again just like it was 1992. My advice? Don’t miss seeing this diamond in the rough!

Genie Singing "Friend Like Me"

Genie (James Monroe Iglehart) singing “Friend Like Me” in the Cave of Wonders. Click photo to enlarge image.

Have you seen Aladdin on Broadway? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know by commenting on this post, Facebooking us, tweeting us or emailing us!

Here are some of my Fun Five Favorites for ALADDIN on Broadway-

Favorite Standout Lead Performance: James Monroe Iglehart. This guy is unstoppable! He should just receive a Tony each time he finishes “Friend Like Me.”

Favorite Funny Joke: Aladdin and Genie taking part in a “Dancing with the Stars”-like competition right in the middle of “Friend Like Me.” And, they win!

Favorite Touching Moment: Hearing Howard Ashman’s “Proud of Your Boy” sung by Adam Jacobs with a full orchestra. Simply breathtaking.

Favorite New Song in the Score: “These Palace Walls”- sung by Jasmine and her Attendants. A great solo for Jasmine that never appeared the film but was ever so needed.

Favorite Musical Number: “Friend Like Me” with the Genie, Aladdin and the ensemble!

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars; would definitely see it again if given the chance.

Get tickets to see ALADDIN on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre here!

Tammy Tuckey is the founder and host of The Tiara Talk Show. Feel free to visit the ABOUT THE HOST page for more info or email her here: tammytuckey@thetiaratalkshow.com. You ain’t never had a friend like her!

Home Before Dark? INTO THE WOODS Movie Review

January 6, 2015 Blog, Review Comments Off on Home Before Dark? INTO THE WOODS Movie Review

Into the woods, and out of the woods- I was definitely home before dark. Not only that, but I could not stop humming all of the memorable tunes from the Disney’s musical adaption of Stephen Sondheim’s “INTO THE WOODS”.

Before I dive into this review, I just want to give a heads up to readers that I will be discussing certain plots of the film that may reveal spoilers so, proceed “into the woods” with caution! 😉


Logo for “INTO THE WOODS”. Courtesy of the Walt Disney Company.

INTO THE WOODS is about the “What if?” that comes into play after a fairytale concludes with the stereotypical happy ending. What if your wish came true but it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be? Fairytale characters like the Witch, Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood & Rapunzel go on an adventure into the woods to see if a happily ever after will come to fruition in Disney’s adaption of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical, “Into the Woods”.

I wasn’t worried about Disney adapting this musical when the project was announced. First of all, director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) knows what he is doing. He has worked on several other musicals before, including the 1999 Wonderful World of Disney T.V. film “Annie” starring Kathy Bates, Alan Cumming, Audra McDonald and Kristin Chenoweth (we interviewed two members of the kid cast which you can listen to here), Nine and Chicago- which are all fantastic. He goes back to the source material and finds what works & doesn’t work for the screen; for example, he condenses the role of the Old Man/Baker’s father to two scenes in the film rather than add additional story plot for the character, who is also poorly developed in the original Broadway production.

As someone who has already performed in a production of “INTO THE WOODS” (yes, I played the Stepmother & had a gorgeous green ballroom dress to dance around in), I already knew what to expect with most of the film’s surprises, plot lines and characters. My main focus was the talent that would bring this story to life. Why? Because this is a character driven film and requires strong performances from its actors; I want to live, connect and have fun with the story. But, if you put singing in the equation, it raises the bar even higher.

The casting for this film is almost near perfection; Emily Blunt wows as The Baker’s Wife, being present in every scene and showing off her strong pipes. Daniel Huttlestone and Lilla Crawford show their acting chops as they balance the innocence and maturity of Jack & Red Riding Hood, respectively. Chris Pine comedic timing as Cinderella’s Prince is great. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of the Witch is dynamic, making you understand the character’s reasoning but dislike her for it. James Corden (The Baker) can be spot on as his character in certain moments of the film but mostly misses the mark and seems out of place with the cast. Still, he did manage to make me feel for the character of the Baker when he faces many emotional challenges rather than dislike him all-together.

Many people have been asked in various articles and blog posts why Disney has decided to pursue such a dark musical. My thought was: why not? Disney films are usually stereotyped as happy-go-lucky movies that are never realistic (which I highly disagree with but, that’s a blog post for another day). I think it’s a daring choice on Disney’s part to pick a musical that, in my opinion, does not end on the happiest of notes. The story does not leave you satisfied. It leaves you questioning the meaning of a “happily ever after” and how one’s actions will affect fate & leave a lasting impression on those they leave behind in this world.

As the Baker begins to tell his story to his newborn son, the Witch’s voice can be heard, haunted and removed. She warns the audience, saying “Careful the tale you tell, that is the spell. Children will listen…” But, even as a warning, it is also gentle sign of hope.

Have you seen Into the Woods? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know by commenting on this post, Facebooking us, tweeting us or emailing us!

Here are some of my Fun Five Favorites for the film:

Stand-out actor: Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife.

Favorite Scene: The hilarious & entertaining “Agony” musical number with Cinderella’s Prince (Chris Pine) and Rapunzel’s Prince (Billy Magnussem).

Favorite Moment: When Rapunzel and her Prince are reunited after being apart for so long; they are an adorable couple!

Favorite Song: “Stay With Me”, sung by the Witch (Meryl Streep).

Favorite Line: “Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood. Others may deceive you – you decide what’s good. You decide alone, but no one is alone.”

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

INTO THE WOODS is rated PG, with a running time of 125 minutes.

Tammy Tuckey is the founder and host of The Tiara Talk Show. Feel free to visit the ABOUT THE HOST page for more info or email her here: tammytuckey@thetiaratalkshow.com. She apologizes for the various “Into the Woods” puns made in this review (not really).

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