At the top of the show, we are introduced to four characters, each with his/her own wish: Cinderella, who is cleaning, wishes with all her heart that she might be able to attend the King’s Festival; Jack, who is trying to milk his sad, dry cow Milky-White, wishes that she would start producing milk again, so she wouldn’t have to be sold at market; and the Baker and his wife wish with all their hearts for a child. The Narrator leads the company in setting up the circumstances (Act One Prologue). We also meet Cinderella’s evil stepmother and stepsisters, Jack’s Mother, and Little Red Riding Hood.
We learn that Milky-White (who is also Jack’s best friend) hasn’t given milk in a very long time, and Jack’s Mother insists that she be sold at market so that they will have some money off of which to survive. Jack sets off into the woods to the next town to follow his mother’s instructions.
At the same time, the Baker and his wife are visited by the Witch from next door who reveals to them that she placed a curse on their family to prevent them from having a child. She explains that the Baker’s father stole vegetables (including magical beans) from her garden many years ago to satisfy his pregnant wife’s craving for greens. To punish him for the theft, the Witch not only stopped their family tree, but also demanded to be given the Baker’s baby sister, whom he never knew existed. She tells the Baker and his wife that they can break the spell only by bringing her the following ingredients: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as pure as gold, all within the next three nights.
The Baker, forbidding his wife to join him, puts on his father’s old jacket and sets off into the woods and do the witch’s bidding. He finds six beans in the pocket of the coat and wonders if they are the Witch’s magical beans.
Cinderella goes into the woods to visit her mother’s grave under the hazel tree. She tells her mother about her wish