Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models - The Bakers Wife

As I look back at my childhood, I realize I was a weird kid.

I remember when I was in fourth grade I first listened to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack and made my best friend listen to it at her house. She was all...

"That one song is cool I guess..."

So, it shouldn't be much of a surprise to you all that I used to spend afternoons with my sister watching an old VHS tape of the musical Into the Woods. 

When I would see Bernadette Peters on TV I would be all "That's the witch!" It is one of my all time favorite musicals ever. Between this show and Disney movies, it most likely explains why I love fairy tales so much. 

Lately, this musical has been popping up in conversations with my director and friend Kasey recently and how we both desperately want to do this show someday. She was in it (as Sleeping Beauty who has one whole line!) in college, but didn't get a larger role because she screwed up the audition. I did the same thing in college - but I didn't get any role at all. Basically we're the same person.

I want to play Red Riding Hood in case any of you want to know. However, the other roles would be amazing as well. Cause... they're just all so great.

Today, I want to introduce you to the Bakers Wife. Who is basically all around amazing.

For those of you unfamiliar with Into the Woods - here's the basic premise.

The first act is a bunch of fairy tales thrown together. Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. However, for the show the story of The Baker and His Wife is added, and they tie everything together. One day, a witch (Bernadette Peters!) comes to their door revealing that years ago she had placed a curse on their family making them unable to have children. In order to break the curse, they need the cow as white as milk (Jack's cow), the cape as red as blood (Red Riding Hood's cloak), the hair as yellow as corn (Rapunzel's hair), and the slipper as pure as gold (Cinderella's shoe. And no, her shoe was not originally glass go read a book). They have three midnight's to do this task. So, they set off into the woods to find the items and run into all of the other fairy tale characters. 

The second act is what happens after "happily ever after."

The whole musical is on Instant Play on Netflix. If you haven't seen it - go change that right now. It ran against Phantom of the Opera in 1986 for best musical. While it didn't win overall, Johanna Gleason (The Bakers Wife) did win best actress in a musical. Which is pretty amazing. 

You also should watch it because this post will have spoilers. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

At first... the Baker goes off into the woods on his own to accomplish the task. However, the Bakers Wife, being the awesome person she is, decides to help out. 

This is one of the first times you see how amazing she is. She wants to partner with her husband, not just let him run off and doing everything for her. She realizes that marriage is a team effort and challenges her husband to see it the same way. She knows he just wants to protect her and take care of her, but eventually they learn, that "It Takes Two."  

The Bakers Wife is also clearly the brains of the whole operation. She is the one most successful in obtaining the four items and has a way with convincing the other characters to give them to her. 

She also takes care of everyone along the way. She and Cinderella become good friends and gives her a chance to process and "ooooo" and "aaahhhh" over the ball and Prince Charming. 

She has a fantastic sense of humor. It's dry and witty, and she delivers the best one-liners.

She isn't afraid to be girly and to dream big dreams. She loves to hear about the ball from Cinderella and plays with her dress. She can get lost in a good story - almost too lost. 

The Baker's Wife becomes mother to the younger characters in the second act. When Red Riding Hood and Jack loose everything, it's the Baker's Wife who is there for them. When tragedy strikes the kingdom, she keeps it together and helps lead the way. At least for the time being...

She is the glue who holds everyone together. As the show goes on, everyone learns to lean on her guidance and confidence. She helps everyone get through "the woods" and accomplish what they need and want. She's one of the only characters who has a decent head on her shoulders. 

The Baker's Wife will do anything for her family and to achieve their dreams of having a child. Sometimes she does things in a bit... unorthodox manner (like pretending to be a prince and pull a girls hair out of her head)... but it's all for the love of her husband and unborn child.

The Baker's Wife learns that you have to go through trials to grow. You need to experience new things, challenges, and hard times to get what you want and grow closer to the people you love.

However... the Baker's Wife is not short of faults. She always dreams of more. She loves her husband, but dreams of what could be. Which gets her in trouble with Cinderella's prince, and in a way leads to her demise. (I told you there would be spoilers... if you haven't seen the musical and just read that, well... I warned you.)

Cheating on your husband for a one night stand with a prince is not a good life choice.

However, she does learn from it. In the end, she appreciates everything she has even more. If she didn't die a minute later - I'm confident she never would have done it again and lived a long happy life with her husband. (Again... I told you there were spoilers.)

Then, even when she's gone, the other characters can still draw upon her strength to defeat the giant who has invaded their kingdom. They follow her example and become their own little unique family. Even the Baker learns how to take care of his child on his own by trying to think of what she would do. 

The Baker's Wife is far from perfect - but I think she's still an awesome role model.

Awesome quotes:
- "I've never lied to royalty before."
- "We can't do this! You have a princess and I have... a baker."
- "You may know what you need, but to get what you want, better see that you keep what you have."
- "I need that shoe to have a child!"
- "Oh these are no ordinary beans. These beans carry magic."
- "This is ridiculous. What am I doing here? I'm in the wrong story!"
- "Oh if life were made of moments, then you'd never know you had one."
- (To Cinderella) "Is that all? Did you dance? Is he charming? You know they say that he's charming."
- "Let the moment go, don't forget it for a moment though. Just remembering you've had an 'and' when you're back to 'or' make the 'or' mean more than it did before. Now I understand and it's time to leave the woods."
- "If the end is right it justifies the beans."
- "Oh my husband is in the woods somewhere. He's undoing a spell."
- (Singing with the Baker) "We've changed, we're strangers, I'm meeting you in the woods. Who minds, what dangers? I know we'll get past the woods. And once we're past, let's hope the changes last. Beyond woods, beyond witches, and slippers, and hoods. Just the two of us - beyond lies, safe at home with our beautiful prize. Just the few of us. It takes trust. It takes just a bit more and we're done. We want four, we had none, we've got three! We need one. It takes two."

Have you seen Into the Woods? Do you love the Baker's Wife as well? Who is your favorite character? I can't decide! They're all awesome!


  1. How funny that you post about this now... haha. She really is the only character with a decent head on her shoulders. Everyone is, in some way, crazy. Even Cinderella the crazy who thinks she's normal. XD Love to the Baker's Wife and Into the Woods!

    1. Well, my director and I have been talking about it a lot. Then you and I were talking about it and I was just like... OK! This has to be written now.

  2. Love it! I know how much you love Into the Woods!! Great post :)

    1. Thanks! It's been coming up in my conversations so much lately, I just had to do it!

  3. Thank you for your outstanding post. I want to say something on the old VHS tapes. Actually personally I like VHS tapes and I have huge collection of them. But nowadays CD and DVD are more popular than the VHS. VHS to DVD transfer


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