Witches Can Be Good and Other Things I Learned From Into The Woods

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Anyone who personally knows me can tell you that I really love musicals. Among my favorites is Into the Woods. This musical is written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. There is a movie version of the musical which is a pretty good version, however the one I am going to refer to is the broadway musical version. The music is different and some of it hits a little bit differently on stage than it does as a film.

The story is a mixture of fairy tales that seemingly come to a happy ending at intermission and then everything falls apart during Act 2. The characters of the show learn many lessons throughout their respective stories. One sticks out the most for me though and is highlighted in one of the last songs of the show. Although things don’t turn out the way that they want them to or the way they thought things would go, that when you don’t have control over situations it is important to know that no one is alone.

“No One is Alone” from Into the Woods

The first verse of one of my favorite songs starts like this:

Mother cannot guide you.
Now you’re on your own.
Only me beside you.
Still, you’re not alone.
No one is alone. Truly.
No one is alone.

– Cinderella, “No One is Alone” – Into the Woods

In Into the Woods, Cinderella learns that she can do things on her own and not rely on others for help. She learns that she can do it on her own. And as highlighted in “No One is Alone” even though she can be independant, she is not alone on her journey.

She continues:

Sometimes people leave you.
Halfway through the wood.
Others may decieve you.
You decide whats good.
You decide alone.
But no one is alone.

– Cinderella, “No One is Alone” – Into the Woods

In this part she explores more that people sometimes aren’t what they first appear to be and it is entirely up to you to decide what is right and wrong, and while that is the case she reminds us that our journey is not one we are taking alone. We make our own decisions along our journey, and we have others who will help support us.

As the song continues, the baker chimes in harmony with Cinderella. He discusses his journey of trying figure out what is right and what is wrong. He constantly explores the gray areas throughout the musical and has a moment here where he sings, “Who can say what’s true?” It is truly a moment of desperation. The baker is completely lost at this point and Cinderella quickly reminds him that he is not alone. Together they point out that without too much effort a person can make a huge impact.

You move just a finger,
Say the slightest word,
Somethings bound to linger
Be heard
No acts alone.
No one is alone.

People Make Mistakes

The duo reassures each other that people make mistakes in this world and that we can make amends for those mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and it is ok, it is part of human nature. Mistakes we make often feel like we cannot overcome them, but remember that you are not doing this alone and you have someone to lean on as we continue to listen to the song.

Witches can be right

A witch is anyone you perceive as working against you. In today’s world it is easy to feel like the world is against you and we often create scenarios that are not true that vilifies others. In fact often these scenarios are incorrect and what we perceived as someone who is working against us could actually be rooting for us in the end. Perhaps they are not even invested. Sometimes they aren’t good, they aren’t bad, they’re just right.

Giants can be good

A giant is anything that wreaks havoc in your life — anything that sets you off course. In the musical, it is an actual giant, but in our life, it can be anything that gets in our way. These don’t have to be negative. Change your perspective and make it into a positive outcome.

You decide what’s right. You decide what’s good.

Just remember:
Someone is on your side
Someone else is not
While we’re seeing our side
Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.
No one is alone.

Musically, this is one of my all-time favorite phrases. When the Baker and Cinderella sing “your side” it is echoed twice with “OUR side” really pushing the point home that we are not truly isolated in our journey. This happens again when they sing “our side” and it brings me to tears every time I hear it. There is an very important message in this phrase as well. Their is always going to be someone who is not with us on our journey and they are on an opposing side and we need to remember that they, too, are not alone.

The song ends with this phrase to remind us that we can make things right in our lives. Don’t let your light burn out and we can make it through this journey. After all someone is on your side.

Hard to see the light now.
Just don’t let it go
Things will come out right now.
We can make it so.
Someone is on your side

Now if you are familiar with Into the Woods, then you know what happens next. For the purposes of this article though, we are going to leave it there.

What’s your take on “No One is Alone” from Into the Woods?

Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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