PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Into the Woods Is a Mother-Goosed Musical

By Harry Haun
10 Aug 2012

Cooper Grodin and Ivan Hernandez
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

A slip of paper in the Playbill notes that "at tonight's performance, Rapunzel's Prince is played by Paris Remillard. Usually Hansel, Remillard got the word on Saturday that he would be going on Monday for Cooper Grodin, who had an emergency appendectomy. "I got about seven hours' rehearsal over two days and then was on stage," he said. "It was crazy." And he was fine. In the insert, he thanked casting directors Jordan Thaler andHeidi Griffiths "for throwing me to the wolves and Into the Woods."

Tell-tale Tony winners in attendance: Adriane Lenox, Alan Cumming, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tonya Pinkins in a blonde wig, playwright John Patrick Shanley, producer Daryl Roth and one two-time Oscar-winner, Sally Field.

Cynthia Nixon (in a long-flowing summer gown designed by . . . she forgot) brought the person who introduced her to fairy tales — her mom, "And she started me on Shakespeare in the Park when I was very little. The first one I remember was Stacy Keach's Hamlet, with James Earl Jones as Claudius. And she said I was on to Claudius right away. I could tell he was up to no good."

A pair of potential mayoral possibilities — Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — arrived with their respective wives, Elyse Buxbaum and Kim Catullo. Other couples: Rutina Wesley from "True Blood" and The Submission and Jacob Fishel, and Frank Rich and Alex Witchel.

Chip Zien
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The seemingly still-honeymooning Bill Heck and Maggie Lacey, who met and were joined together as husband and wife by Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle, are off to Estonia in a couple of days for a two-week New Playwrights Conference that the O'Neill Foundation is starting. "We're really like a ground-breaking team of actors for the project," explained Mrs. Heck. "It's a Jake Jefferson play we're working on. He's a wonderful new playwright out of Yale."

The author (Rajiv Joseph), director (Moises Kaufman) and Tony-nominated actor (Arian Moayed) of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo arrived as a very chummy unit. Next week, Kaufman starts teaching Jessica Chastain the intricacies of The Heiress role, Catherine Sloper, for a limited run at the Walter Kerr (Nov. 1-Feb. 10). The part won an Oscar for Olivia de Havilland and a Tony for Cherry Jones, so she will be paying attention. Of late, the director has been doing atmosphere soaks around town: "I went to the Merchant's House on West 4th Street — a house from the 1830s —and the woman who took me on the tour opened the door and said, 'Welcome to the Slopers house.' And it looked exactly like that, too. The interior set of the house in the movie was based on the Merchant's House."

Others present: Patricia Clarkson, Pat Schoenfeld, Jujamcyn's Jordan Roth, Kate Baldwin, directors Walter Bobbie and Alex Timbers,Daniel J. O'Donnell of the New York State Assembly, book writer John Weidman, composer Michael Friedman and Camryn Manheim.