Bloggers and social media can create quite a brouhaha over matters of cultural significance. What sounded like a deafening chorus of back-seat drivers analyzing Into The Woods for its inherent sexism, racism, and/or casting choices revealed high levels of personal umbrage combined with an inability to handle cruel but basic truths.
Into the Woods is everywhere, it seems, but it has not always been so. A world pre-Woods came flooding back to me recently as I sat enthralled by the sorcery of the Fiasco Theater's ingeniously homespun production now running (through April 12) at Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre on West 46th Street.
When people with widely disparate cultural beliefs meet up in real life, several outcomes are possible. One of the best examples of this phenomenon was depicted in Pacific Overtures (the 1976 Broadway musical which focused on the historical moment in which Japan opened its isolated island society to Western culture).
Two well-established musical masterpieces returned to Bay area stages last fall in exceptional productions which proved, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the strength and vitality of each work's score and libretto. The fact that they were so beautifully performed only added to the audience's sense of artistic fulfillment.