New York City Center has announced initial casting for its three musicals comprising the 2021–2022 Encores! season, including its two-week run of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods. The production, helmed by Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet, will run May 4–15, 2022, as the inaugural production in Encores!’ new tradition of offering a widely celebrated American musical in its roster.
Tony winner Heather Headley will take on the role of the Witch; the Aida and The Color Purple star previous took on the part at St. Louis’ The Muny. Tony-nominated and Grammy-winning Waitress favorite Sara Bareilles will play the Baker’s Wife, with Tony winner Christian Borle as the Baker and Tony nominee Ashley Park as Cinderella. (Park was slated to take on the title role in Encores!’ Thoroughly Modern Millie, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.)
Jamal Sims will choreograph the staging, with Encores! Music Director Rob Berman also on the creative team. The first performance of the run will be a special gala presentation.
Prior to Into the Woods, the Encores! season will kick off as previously announced with The Tap Dance Kid, directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon. Dulé Hill, who was a cast member of the original 1980s production, will take on the role of Dipsey. The musical, by Henry Krieger, Robert Lorick, and Charles Blackwell, will feature tap-centric choreography by Jared Grimes and a concert adaptation by Lydia Diamond. Joseph Joubert will music direct. Performances will run February 2–6.
The Cy Coleman-Ira Gasman-David Newman musical The Life will follow March 16–20. Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter will direct the production, which will feature Chuck Cooper (who won a Tony as Memphis in the original 1997 production) as Old Jojo, Mykal Kilgore as Young Jojo, Ledisi as Sonja, and Ken Robinson as Fleetwood. Encores! Creative Advisor Camille A. Brown will choreograph.
Additional casting for all three will be announced later. Subscriptions will go on sale August 23, with single tickets available to the general public beginning October 18. Audience members will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entrance. Visit NYCityCenter.org for more information.