By Adam Hetrick
12 May 2012
A 13-year-old Danielle Ferland made her Broadway debut as the bespectacled Louise in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Sunday in the Park With George. Just three years later she would originate the role of the sweet-toothed Little Red Riding Hood in the Sondheim-Lapine musical Into the Woods.
Today, two decades later, Ferland is charting a new path as The Baker's Wife in the Westport Country Playhouse-Baltimore Center Stage production of Into the Woods, which is playing to May 26 in Westport, CT.
Had you always wanted to come back to Into the Woods?
Danielle Ferland: Yes. I mean, not consciously at the time, but, as I got a little bit older and grew into an adult, this is a role I always wanted to play. This is a full-circle dream come true for me because Baker's Wife is just a fantastic role.
During the original production, did you have moments of watching Joanna Gleason doing it that made you think, "I have to…"
DF: Yeah. In retrospect, sure, but I made a conscious choice not to watch the DVD once I was cast [this year] because I don't… Obviously, she's amazing, and we all can bow down, but I'm trying my best to make it my own, but definitely. I think there's something about the character — the way she does it, especially — she's very dry and witty, and I feel like I might have a little bit of that in me, too. I would like to think. [Laughs.]
|photo by Richard Anderson|
Are you having moments of déjà vu?
DF: Completely! I had a moment where I was standing off to the side, and someone said, "Little Red," and I looked up. [Laughs.] It was really interesting. I had déjà vu of that and of things I forgot — moments that I loved about the show — that I had forgotten about. The smallest moment that you only remember from the inside out as you're performing it as opposed to watching it.
What are some things that you remember about the original production? What was the process like?
DF: It was a lengthy process. I was fortunate enough to do some of the readings. I did not go to San Diego with it, but we had a lot of different workshops and different readings, different endings, and they just continued to play and explore. It was something that changed so much through previews and just through everything, so it was lengthy, but I remember the whole way — specifically, that I was like, "Pinch me! I don't believe I'm here."
What were some of the different endings?
DF: ...I remember a very early reading where the Baker's Wife did not die. A bunch of different things like that. There were so many that I can't even recall.