L-R: Lauren Kennedy, Erik Liberman and Danielle Ferland in “Into the Woods” at Westport Country Playhouse.
Photo by Richard Anderson
A 25th anniversary production of the imaginative, fractured-fairy tale musical “Into the Woods” by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim will be staged at the theater where Sondheim was an apprentice in 1950, Westport Country Playhouse, in Westport, CT, May 1 through May 26. Directed by Mark Lamos, the Playhouse’s artistic director, the musical will open the historic theater’s 82nd season. It is co-produced with Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE.
A multiple Tony Award winner, “Into the Woods” takes the audience to a beguiling and dark place inspired by the Grimm fairy tales. Among the classic characters that wander the woods searching for fulfillment of their wishes are Cinderella and her wicked stepsisters, Little Red Ridinghood and the Wolf, Rapunzel and her Prince, and Jack of beanstalk fame. As their fanciful tales intertwine, they are forced to confront the harsh reality of what actually happens after “happily ever after.”
“Fairy tales are the bedrock of dreams, psychosis and creativity. They lodge in our fantasies and nightmares,” said Lamos. “Here they spring to witty, gorgeous life through Sondheim’s stunning music and lyrics, and Lapine’s spell-binding book.”
The 15-member cast includes Danielle Ferland from Derby, CT (Broadway’s “Into the Woods,” “Sunday in the Park with George”) as the Baker’s Wife; Erik Liberman (Broadway’s “LoveMusik,” Helen Hayes Award for “Merrily We Roll Along”) as the Baker; Lauren Kennedy (Broadway’s “Spamalot,” “Sunset Boulevard”) as the Witch; Jeffry Denman (Broadway’s “The Producers,” “White Christmas”) as the Narrator; Justin Scott Brown from Avon, CT (25th Anniversary National Tour of “Les Misérables”) as Jack; Cheryl Stern (2010 revival of “La Cage aux Folles”) as Jack’s Mother; and Nik Walker (“Miss Saigon,” “Rent”) as the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince.
Also, Jenny Latimer (Westport Country Playhouse’s “She Loves Me”) as Cinderella; Dana Steingold (Broadway’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) as Little Red Ridinghood; Jeremy Lawrence (Manhattan Theatre Club’s “Five by Tenn”) as the Mysterious Man; Robert Lenzi (Lincoln Center’s “South Pacific”) as Rapunzel’s Prince; Alma Cuervo (Broadway’s “Titanic,” “Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown,” “Beauty and the Beast”) as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Granny and voices the Giant; Britney Coleman (regional premiere of ”Tarzan: The Broadway Musical”) as Rapunzel and Cinderella’s Mother; Eleni Delopoulos (Off-Broadway’s “A Stoop on Orchard Street”) as Lucinda; and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Broadway’s “Chicago”) as Florinda;
Stephen Sondheim, music and lyrics, wrote both music and lyrics for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1962), “Anyone Can Whistle” (1964), “Company” (1970), “Follies” (1971), “A Little Night Music” (1973), “Frogs” (1974), “Pacific Overtures” (1976), “Sweeney Todd” (1979), “Merrily We Roll Along” (1981), “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984), “Into The Woods” (1987), “Assassins” (1991) and “Passion” (1994). He also wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story” (1957) and “Gypsy” (1959). He is the winner of eight Tony Awards, an Academy Award, multiple Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
James Lapine, book, has worked with Stephen Sondheim on “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Assassins” and “Sondheim on Sondheim.” With William Finn he has collaborated on “Falsettos,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and the soon to be produced “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Director Mark Lamos, who also serves as Westport Country Playhouse artistic director, has helmed Playhouse productions of “Twelfth Night, or What You Will”; “Lips Together, Teeth Apart”; “Happy Days”; “She Loves Me”; “The Breath of Life”; “That Championship Season”; and “Of Mice and Men.” His extensive New York credits include “Our Country's Good,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination. A former artistic director at Hartford Stage, he received the 1989 Tony Award for the theater's body of work.
The design and production team includes Seán Curran (Broadway’s “The Dead,” “The Rivals,” “Cymbeline”), choreographer/musical staging; Wayne Barker (Westport Country Playhouse’s “She Loves Me,” Broadway’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” - 2011 Drama Desk Award), music director; Allen Moyer (“Grey Gardens” - Tony/Drama Desk nominations, Henry Hewes Award), set design; Candice Donnelly (Broadway’s “Our Country’s Good,” “Fences,” “Hughie”), costume design; Robert Wierzel (Broadway’s “Fela!” -Tony Award nomination), lighting design; Zachary Williamson (associate on Broadway’s “Lysistrata Jones,” “Pal Joey”), sound design; Michael Rossmy, fight director; Gavin Witt, dramaturg; Matthew Melchiorre, stage manager; Amanda Spooner, assistant stage manager; Tara Rubin, casting.
The performance schedule is Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special series feature A Taste of Tuesday, Previews, LGBT Night Out, Opening Night, Thursday TalkBack, Sunday Symposium and Backstage Pass. In addition, the Playhouse will offer an open captioned performance on Sunday, May 13, 3 p.m., for the hearing impaired.
Subscriptions are available (full season 5-Play, seasonal 4-Play, Pick 3 Plans and FlexTix) offering up to 40% off single tickets. Single ticket prices, starting at $30, are subject to change based on availability. Buy early for the best prices.
“Into the Woods” Corporate Partners are BNY Mellon and Northwest Mutual; Production Sponsors are Barbara and John Samuelson and Helen Lee Henderson; Production Partners are Sandra and Neil DeFeo.
For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), view Playhouse videos on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse) or get an insider’s peek on The Playhouse Blog (www.theplayhouseblog.org).