Playbill Poll: Which Cast Member from the Original Into the Woods Should Appear in the Film? Readers Respond

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11 Aug 2013

With casting almost complete for the starry film adaptation of Disney's "Into the Woods," featuring Oscar winner Meryl Streep, we wondered: Which cast member from the 1987 original Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical should make a cameo appearance on screen?

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Playbill.com polled our readers via Facebook and Twitter asking which cast member from the original Broadway production should appear in the upcoming film adaptation and what role they can play.

As previously reported, Sophia Grace Brownlee has been confirmed to play Little Red Riding Hood. Also confirmed for "Into the Woods" are Streep as the Witch, Academy and Tony Award nominee Anna Kendrick ("The Last Five Years," "Pitch Perfect") as Cinderella, Tony Award winner James Corden (One Man, Two Guvnors) as the Baker and Daniel Huttlestone ("Les Misérables") as Jack.

Other actors reported for the film include Emily Blunt as the Baker's Wife, "Sweeney Todd" star Johnny Depp as the Wolf, MacKenzie Mauzy (Giant) as Rapunzel, Tony nominee Tammy Blanchard (Gypsy, How to Succeed) as Florinda, Lucy Punch ("Bad Teacher") as Lucinda, Tony nominee Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel's Prince, Chris Pine (The Atheist) as Cinderella's Prince, Tony Award winner Christine Baranski (Hurlyburly, The Real Thing, "Mamma Mia!") as Cinderella's Stepmother and Tracey Ullman as Jack's Mother.

Here are some reader responses followed by our own commentary.

William Cortez-Statham: Bernadette. Obvi.
Casey Cheyenne Greenwood: Bernadette Peters, of course! She's a legend! You can't have Into the Woods without her involved somehow!
Jamie Rogers: Bernadette Peters as Cinderella's mother in the tree!
@BwayBabz: obviously @OfficialBPeters!! Was hoping she'd be the voice of the Giantess...
Will Nunziata: Bernadette Peters voicing the "moo's" of Milky White.

Tony Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters, known for her starring turns in Stephen Sondheim musicals, was the most popular choice on Facebook and Twitter for a cameo appearance in the film adaptation of Into the Woods. It only seems right that Peters, whose portrayal of the Witch in the original production is nothing short of iconic, would make an appearance in the film. Our readers suggested roles such as Cinderella's Mother, the voice of the Giant and the voice of Milky White, but we're not picky! We think that she'd be great in any role, and we'd love to hear her sing "Children Will Listen" once again — possibly over the credits?

Noel King: The entire staff was stellar but Joanna Gleason was superior in every way. Would love to see her show up in the film!
Luigi Quesada: Joanna Gleason as Little Red's gran and Bernadette Peters as Cinderella's stepmother! Or the other way around! OR WHATEVER, THEY JUST HAVE TO BE IN IT.
Anthony Aloise: Joanna Gleason voicing the Giant!
Kenneth Averett: Joanna Gleason as Jack's Mom this time.

Joanna Gleason, who won the 1988 Tony Award for her performance as the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, was another popular choice for a return to the woods. Gleason, who longed for motherhood in the 1987 production, would make a great mom in the film. The comedic role of Jack's Mother would be ideal for the actress, who was also Tony-nominated for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Danielle Ferland

Steven Copp: Wouldn't it be cool to have Danielle Ferland appear as Little Red's mother? I know she doesn't actually appear in the show but why not add her to the film!

Ferland, who received a 1988 Theatre World Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk for her performance as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods, played the Baker's Wife in the 2012 Westport Country Playhouse production of Into the Woods. Now all grown up, we think Ferland would fair well as one of the motherly figures in the musical, and we'd love to see her cross paths with the young Sophia Grace in her travels through the woods.

Judy Muller: I would love to see Chip Zien cameo as a villager!
Joe Bowman: Chip as the Mysterious Old Man.

Two-time Drama Desk Award nominee Chip Zien, who starred as the Baker in Into the Woods, took a recent trip back in last year's Shakespeare in the Park production of Woods. Zien played the Mysterious Man in Central Park, a full-circle moment for the actor. Read the Playbill.com interview with Zien here. Audiences would love to see Zien reprise his performance as the Mysterious Man, and, luckily, that role has not yet been cast.

Stephen Sondheim
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Gage Rancich: Obviously Bernadette. As far as main cast members though, I'd like to see Chip Zien as the Mysterious Man...and I would LOVE to see Sondheim himself as the narrator.
@oliverbeatson: Sondheim as the narrator! I know it doesn't really count, though...

Although Tony Award winner Stephen Sondheim didn't appear in the show, how amazing would it be for the writer of the beloved musical to narrate the movie? We think this is brilliant casting!

Chuck Wagner

Matthew Davidson: Chuck Wagner should be the royal announcer dude!

Chuck Wagner, who played Rapunzel's Prince in the original Broadway production, could make an appearance in the film as a character who has ties to the royal family. Or, perhaps, he could appear as one of the dwarves guarding Snow White's castle?

Nathan Hinds: Robert Westenberg. Should be the mysterious man. He was awesome in the original and should be included in the film.
@Ktmenick: Robert Westenberg.

Robert Westenberg, who played the roles of Cinderella's Prince and the Wolf in the original Broadway production, could make an appearance as another woodland creature that Little Red encounters on her way to grandmother's house. We'd also enjoy hearing his take on "No More" if he were to play the Mysterious Man.

Chauncy McButterbeans: Kim Crosby as Cinderella's Mother

Kim Crosby, who originated the role of Cinderella in the 1987 production of Into the Woods, could play Cinderella's Mother this time around. The actress, who has also appeared on Broadway in Jerry's Girls and Guys and Dolls, has the seemingly limitless vocal range required for the part.

Robert Westenberg and Kim Crosby in Into the Woods.

@Jensilber: What's Ben Wright up to these days?

Following Ben Wright's portrayal of Jack in the 1987 Broadway production, the actor went on to appear as Wayne Frake in Broadway's State Fair in 1996. We'd love to see the actor back on the musical theatre circuit and think that an appearance in the film adaptation of Woods is a great opportunity. If we see Jack's trip up the beanstalk in the film, Wright would be perfect for the Giant.

@sayagainrejoice: Barbara Bryne as red's grandmother

Barbara Bryne, who has also been seen on Broadway in Sunday in the Park With George and Hay Fever, played Jack's Mother in the original Broadway production of Into the Woods. If she returns in the upcoming film version, our readers suggest the role of Little Red's Grandmother.



@devandevvie: as many as possible! Duh!

The 1987 production of Into the Woods was nominated for ten 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The production took home Tonys for Original Score (Stephen Sondheim), Best Book (James Lapine) and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason). The production, which ran for over 700 performances, was filmed and broadcast on television and, since then, has become a classic. We agree that it would be wonderful to see as many possible actors reunite in the upcoming film.