Into the Woods isn’t in cinemas until Christmas Day, but you can start memorising the songs now. The Into the Woods deluxe soundtrack is available for purchase on iTunes starting today in the United States.
The 50-track deluxe edition features both performances from the all star cast including those by Meryl Streep, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp, as well as instrumental renditions from the film.
As the soundtrack proves, Into the Woods features strong vocal performances across the cast. There is no doubt that these actors were chosen for their vocal ability as well as their acting chops.
Although it diverges in places from the original score, Sondheim fans will enjoy the soundtrack, which captures the energy and spirit of the stage show. Keen fans will notice certain songs from the original show have been cut – expect more on this from Hypable closer to the film’s release date.
The standout performance is given by Meryl Streep as the Witch, who steals the show with “Last Midnight,” “Stay With Me,” and “Children Will Listen”. Streep’s performance is so powerful that – having watched Mamma Mia with more than a few cringes – this writer initially wondered if sections of Streep’s ballads had been dubbed by a professional singer.
“Agony,” performed by Chris Pine (Cinderella’s Prince) and Billy Magnussen (Rapunzel’s Prince) was the crowd favourite in the screening we attended earlier this month. This was partly due to the staging, but both Pine and Magnussen put in strong vocal performances as can be heard on the soundtrack. This song will no doubt go on to be a crowd pleaser.
Anna Kendrick is unsurprisingly charming as Cinderella. “On the Steps of the Palace” might be her showstopper, as we saw earlier this month, but the quiet reflection between Kendrick and Emily Blunt in “A Very Nice Prince” offers a subtler, but no less effective, performance.
Blunt herself takes on the difficult vocal role of The Baker’s Wife admirably, and shines particularly bright during her duet “It Takes Two” with onscreen husband James Corden, and her conflicted solo “Moments in the Woods.” For his part, Corden does best in company songs such as the “Prologue” and “Your Fault,” but offers a cohesive and consistent vocal performance across the soundtrack.
Special mention must go to Johnny Depp as The Wolf and his wonderfully wicked “Hello, Little Girl,” and the stellar performances by film newcomers Lilla Crawford as Red Riding Hood and Daniel Huttlestone (previously seen in Les Misérables) as Jack. This pair more than hold their own during their respective solos “I Know Things Now” and “Giants in the Sky,” but our favourite of their performances – and possibly our favourite song on the soundtrack – is their beautiful quartet with Corden and Kendrick, “No One Is Alone.”