New York City Center Encores! begins its production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods at New York City Center May 4 with a gala performance honoring Arlene Shuler for 19 years of leadership and extraordinary service as president and CEO of New York City Center. The special extended engagement, directed by new Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet, is set to continue through May 15.
Watch highlights from the production's rehearsals above.
The cast is led by Heather Headley as the Witch, Neil Patrick Harris as The Baker, and Sara Bareilles as the Baker's Wife, alongside Denée Benton as Cinderella, Cole Thompson as Jack, Ann Harada as Jack's Mother, Julia Lester as Little Red Ridinghood, Shereen Pimentel as Rapunzel, Gavin Creel as Cinderella's Prince/Wolf, Jordan Donica as Rapunzel's Prince, Annie Golden as Grandmother/Cinderella's Mother/Giant's Wife, and David Patrick Kelly as Narrator/Mysterious Man.
Rounding out the cast are Ta'nika Gibson as Lucinda, Albert Guerzon as Cinderella's Father, Brooke Ishibashi as Florinda, Kennedy Kanagawa as Milky White, Lauren Mitchell as Cinderella's Stepmother, and David Turner as Steward. Jason Forbach and Mary Kate Moore are the production's understudies.
The production also features music direction by Rob Berman, choreography by Lorin Latarro, scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Andrea Hood, lighting design by Tyler Micoloeau, sound design by Scott Lehrer, puppet design by James Ortiz, and hair, wig, and makeup design by Cookie Jordan. Casting is by The Telsey Office's Craig Burns.
With a book and direction by Lapine and a score by Sondheim, Into the Woods originally opened at Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre November 5, 1987, playing 765 performances before closing September 3, 1989. The original Broadway company boasted Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, Robert Westenberg, Joanna Gleason, Tom Aldredge, Barbara Bryne, Kim Crosby, Chuck Wagner, and Ben Wright. The musical won Tonys for Best Book, Best Score, and Best Actress in a Musical (Gleason). The 2002 revival—starring Vanessa Williams, Laura Benanti, Stephen DeRosa, Gregg Edelman, Kerry O'Malley, and Christopher Sieber—played 18 previews and 279 regular performances at the Broadhurst Theatre. Meryl Streep headed the cast of the film version.