After receiving solid reviews from the New York critics, Into the Woods will do what what every successful show does — go into the recording studio. The cast, including recording artist Vanessa Williams, will lay down the revival's score May 6 for an upcoming release on Nonesuch Records.
Williams has recorded a previously released cast album before. When she took over for Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman on Broadway, Mercury recorded her in the title role, alongside her co-stars Stokes Mitchell and Howard McGillin. That album was billed as the New Broadway Cast recording, while Rivera's is referred to as the Original Cast Recording (most of Rivera's London cast crossed the Atlantic to open Kiss on Broadway).
Nonesuch recently released a recording of Sondheim's The Frogs, featuring Nathan Lane and Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Evening Primrose with Neil Patrick Harris). They also carry recordings by Audra McDonald and Dawn Upshaw as well as the music of "new composers" Ricky Ian Gordon and Adam Guettel.
The starry cast of Into the Woods features Williams as the Witch, John McMartin (The Visit in Chicago) playing the Narrator and Mysterious Man, Laura Benanti (Swing) playing Cinderella, Gregg 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, Kimball as Milky White, Trent Armand Kendall as the Steward, Pamela Myers as Cinderella's Stepmother, Tracy Nicole Chapman as Florinda, Amanda Naughton as Lucinda and Jennifer Malenke as the Horse. Completing the ensemble are Stephen Berger, Linda Muggleston, Kate Reinders and Adam Brazier.
The production is directed by the musical's original director and bookwriter, Lapine. Paul Gemignani is the musical director, with John Carrafa (Urinetown) choreographing. The revival is produced by Dodger Theatricals. Designing the show are Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Susan Hilferty (costumes), Douglas W. Schmidt (set) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound).
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 (voiced in this production by Dame Judi Dench and appearing as a large moving shadow projected onto the stage). Cinderella's prince is a hopeless philanderer. The witch is not wicked but overprotective of her daughter. And a slightly psychotic Little Red Riding Hood proudly wears the grey skin of the wolf she cut up. 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," "No One Is Alone" and "Giants in the Sky."