Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine set out to create a story centering around the the moral struggles of these famous characters. Tied together with one original story about a Baker and his wife, their struggle to have a child, and the witch who cursed their bloodline, the show would have a first act about each character’s individual journey, and a second act about the consequences of their actions on the community. Sondheim claims to have drawn additional material for such characters as the Baker and Jack’s Mother from his own troubled childhood .
Into the Woods premiered in San Diego at the Old Globe Theatre on December 4, 1986 and ran for 50 performances. After a huge success, it opened on Broadway on November 5, 1987 and was critically acclaimed, nominated for many awards, including ten Tonys, and won three (Best Original Score, Best Book and best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical). Into the Woods is still one of the most widely produced musicals around, and in 2014 was adapted into a film featuring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and many others.