Last Midnight

WEEK EIGHT PLAYLIST:

Villain Songs

IN MY HEAD TODAY:

“Last Midnight” from Into the Woods (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

 
 

What is it about “Last Midnight” that gets my heart racing every time I hear it? Sometimes I think it’s the orhestrations. Sometimes I think it’s Bernadette Peters. Maybe it’s just such a high-stake, intense part of the story that I can’t help being spellbound. This song has an “it” factor for me. It never gets old.

I think of “Last Midnight” when I look at the cover of the Original Broadway Cast Into the Woods album. Our final four are face-to-face with evil, and it’s about to destroy them. There aren’t many songs about pending doom (that I can think of), and it’s chilling. Maybe the most chilling element of “Last Midnight” is that the Witch isn’t wrong. She makes a good argument. If they don’t give Jack to the giant, they’ll all most likely be dead soon.

To me, the combination of “Your Fault” and “Last Midnight” form the 11 o’clock number of Into the Woods. Most folks will likely disagree with that—”No One Is Alone” could be considered the 11 o’clock—but everything explodes here, and it’s the emotional peak for me. Any remnant of the bright happy story we were dealing with has gone up in flames by the end of “Last Midnight.” The characters are in hell—literally, in the Witch’s case. I find this part more exciting than the slaying of the giant that follows.

Can we talk about how hateful the Witch’s mother is? When the Witch first loses the beans, her mother’s spirit curses her to make her ugly. Then the Witch throws the beans in this scene and calls out to her mother: “Punish me the way you did then! Give me claws and a hunch, just away from this bunch!” Instead, Mom banishes her to hell. That is some messed up family drama right there. I love it.

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