Meryl Streep in Into the Woods (2014)
“In 2014, I was alone for Christmas. Friends were out of town. Work prevented me from flying down to see my family in Florida. And I decided not to accept an invitation for dinner I had gotten from a couple of casual acquaintances. I would spend the day by myself, I decided, maybe trying to perfect a lasagna recipe that had eluded me several times in the past. But there was one thing I looked forward to that day: the opening of Into the Woods, the film version of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical, starring Meryl Streep, James Corden, and Emily Blunt. It was a show I had seen in previews during its original Broadway production in 1987, and perhaps a dozen times since in various productions in multiple cities. The original cast album, featuring Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, and Chip Zien, was something I still played once a week in my Manhattan apartment.
The first showing on Christmas Day, at the now-shuttered Ziegfield Theater, was at noon. And I was determined to be there early, as I was worried about getting a good seat. (Movies that open on Christmas are typically blockbusters that sell out well in advance.) So I headed across town at roughly 10:30 and got there a little past 11 — to find an almost completely empty theater. I took a seat as a few other people began to straggle in, and decided to text a friend who had gone away for the holiday season, but who had seen Into the Woods with me a few times. About 15 minutes later, she texted me back, and said that she had seen on Facebook that an old friend of hers, someone she had gone to high school with in Minnesota and hadn’t seen in years, was also at the Ziegfield.
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