Although press representatives for the new Broadway-bound revised revival of Into the Woods can't confirm it, there's little doubt that former pop star and Broadway Spider Woman Vanessa Williams (Kiss of the Spider Woman) will take the role of the powerful-but-ugly (then beautiful-but-powerless) Witch in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, as it has been reported virtually everywhere, including Variety.
As for who will join her at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre Feb. 1-March 24 and then at Broadway's Broadhurst in April 2002, Theatrical Index has released a few names. 2000 Tony Award nominee Laura Benanti (as Cinderella), Reefer Madness' three-time Tony nominee Gregg Edelman (as her prince) and Triumph of Love's Christopher Sieber are all expected in the revised revival.
The production will be directed by the musical's original director and bookwriter, Lapine. Paul Gemignani will serve as musical director, with John Carrafa choreographing. The revival is produced by Dodger Theatricals.
Billed as a family show, Into the Woods twists popular fairy tales, infusing them with an adult sense of what happens after the "Happily Ever After." Jack's murder of the giant (of beanstalk fame) provokes the wrath of his giant wife, Cinderella's prince is a hopeless philanderer, the witch is not wicked but overprotective, and a slightly psychotic Little Red Riding Hood proudly wears the grey skin of the wolf she cut up from the inside out. The score is one of Sondheim's most popular, with the comic and manic "Into the Woods," "Agony" and "On the Steps of the Palace" contrasting with the dramatic and wondering "Children Will Listen" and "Giants in the Sky."
At the May 16 Tony Awards nominations brunch at New York City's Marriott Marquis, Dodgers producer Michael David confirmed that Woods would be targeting Broadway after the Ahmanson. He also mentioned that Sondheim and Lapine would do some revisions the show's book. "When the original show toured, it already had changes in the second act from what was on Broadway," David told Playbill On-Line, "so Stephen and James are definitely taking a look at it again and seeing what they'll do with it." "Our Little World," a number sung between Rapunzel and the Witch and performed in the 1990 London production, has also been spectulated as an addition to the revival.