Sometimes in life, we go looking for sad songs, a tangible excuse to cry. And sometimes, they come to us, unexpected but welcome.
I happened across a Disney film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s renowned play “Into The Woods”. I knew the basic story to be a blending of a few famous fairy tales; Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel.
I knew that Merle Streep took on the role of the witch, that Johnny Depp was the big bad wolf, that Anna Kendrick as Cinderella would showcase her vocal talents.
It looked like fun. Kid stuff. Childhood stories coming to life.
What I did not know, was how it would affect me.
This was Stephen Sondheim, after all. I should have known better.
There are a few brilliant songs, delivered with so much sensitivity, that I was brought to tears; not once, but several times.
In true Sondheim form, the emotions run deep. There are songs about parent/child relationships, mistakes, regrets, abandonment, unfulfilled wishes and lost dreams. There is also evidence of love and joy and hope, in spite of all.
“Stay With Me”, “Children Will Listen” and maybe the most moving and poignant of all, “No One is Alone”, with lyrics such as…
Someone is on your side, someone else is not
When we’re seeing our side maybe we forgot
They are not alone, no one is alone
I’ve chosen a heartfelt stage performance of the song from the amazing Bernadette Peters.