A week following the exit of its star Witch, Vanessa Williams, Into the Woods will see its "last midnight" at Broadhurst Theatre. The Tony Award winning Stephen Sondheim musical revival is set to close Dec. 29, a spokesperson announced. Into the Woods will have played 18 previews and 279 regular performances.
Into the Woods opened on Broadway April 30 after beginning performances April 13. It went on to win the 2002 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. The production was a transfer from Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre where it enjoyed a successful run, Feb. 1-March 24. The cast transferred intact with only a change in Cow (Chad Kimball stepped up to the star-making role when the animal get-up and posturing proved too physically painful for the originally-cast Cow, Gypsy-bound Kate Reinders).
At the 2002 Tony Awards, Into the Woods did well, receiving nine nominations, including nods for all four acting prizes (for Williams, John McMartin, Gregg Edelman and Laura Benanti), the design awards, Best Choreography for John Carrafa and Best Director for James Lapine. It won two, for Brian MacDevitt's lighting and the most important, Best Musical Revival.
Who will replace Williams in the final week (she leaves Dec. 22) has not yet been announced, although both of her understudies Linda Mugleston and Tracy Nicole Chapman, have gone on for Williams in the past. The closing cast will feature most of the original cast, minus Benanti, who left the role of Cinderella in the fall due to an undisclosed illness. They are McMartin (The Visit in Chicago) playing the Narrator and Mysterious Man, Erin Dilly (The Boys From Syracuse) playing Cinderella, Edelman (late of Reefer Madness) as her Prince, Dennis Kelly as her father, Christopher Sieber (Triumph of Love) as Rapunzel's Prince, Melissa Dye as Rapunzel, Kerry O'Malley as the Baker's Wife, Stephen DeRosa (The Mystery of Irma Vep) as the Baker, Adam Wylie as Jack, Mary Louise Burke (Fuddy Meers) as Jack's Mother, Molly V. Ephraim as Little Red Riding Hood, Chad Kimball as Milky White, Trent Armand Kendall as the Steward, Joy Franz as Cinderella's Stepmother, Chapman as Florinda, Amanda Naughton as Lucinda and Jennifer Malenke as the Horse.
Into the Woods does leave behind a cast recording, released on the Nonesuch label in June. The CD includes the first American recording of Woods' new number, "Our Little World," a duet between Rapunzel (Dye) and the Witch (Williams) (the song was previously recorded on the original London cast album). The new "Hello, Little Girl," sung by twice the wolves in the revival, is also preserved with some additional dialogue and the new lyrics. Additional bits of spoken word are peppered throughout the recording, along with the slight lyric changes made for the revival. Billed as a family show, Into the Woods twists popular fairy tales, infusing them with an adult sense of what happens after the "Happily Ever After." Jack's murder of the giant (of beanstalk fame) provokes the wrath of his giant wife, Cinderella's prince is a hopeless philanderer, the witch is not wicked but overprotective, and a slightly psychotic Little Red Riding Hood proudly wears the grey skin of the wolf. The score is one of Sondheim's most popular, with the comic and manic "Into the Woods," "Agony" and "On the Steps of the Palace" contrasting with the dramatic and wondering "Children Will Listen" and "Giants in the Sky."
Tickets to Into the Woods are $95-$40. The Broadhurst Theatre is located at 235 West 44th Street. Into the Woods is on the web at http://www.intothewoodsbroadway.com