Saturday, November 5, 2011

Macabre and alluring, fairy tales live on

Fairy tales are perpetual fodder for exploration (and exploitation; viz network tv's new shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time). Today marks the date in 1987 when Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods made its Broadway debut. Featured in modern-day incarnations were Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood (pictured at right by Rackham and below by Doré), Cinderella, a witch, and two Prince Charmings. It has since become one of Sondheim's most-performed musicals. "All fairy tales are parables about steps to maturity" he told the New York Times. "The final step is when you become responsible for the people around you, when you feel connected to the rest of the world."

As you might expect, Daedalus has a strong contingent of beautifully illustrated fairy tale items, including the old (Fairy Gold: A Book of Old English Fairy Tales and A Little Box of Books: Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, Songs), the new (My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales), and the "Grimm." And don't miss the Nash Ensemble's recording of Schumann's Fairy Tales for clarinet, viola and piano! 
Bernadette Peters sings "Children Will Listen," the finale of Into the Woods, at a concert in Royal Festival Hall London. 

Do you have a favorite story, storyteller (Grimm, Andersen, Perrault?), or illustrator? 


  1. My favorite is Hansel and Gretel. And I actually liked the illustrations in the Golden Book version with the children with cherubic faces!

  2. Hansel & Gretel is a great opera if you ever get a chance to see it!

  3. I loved "Into the Woods" - Great Music.
    I also loved all the Fairy Tales as a child.. The Snow Queen was one of my favorites!