Denée Benton is currently making her second trip to the woods. She previously played Cinderella in Into the Woods when it was just supposed to be a two-week stint at New York City Center. "We were panicked for the first two shows, because you don't get much time," she admits. But now that Benton is back in the show for its Broadway run at the St. James Theatre, she feels like she finally has time to dig into her character, saying, "To get to perform it with the cast members who are so settled, I feel like I really have gotten to get into it this time."
Benton is currently playing Cinderella until December 24, succeeding Krysta Rodriguez and Phillipa Soo. What new revelations has she discovered about the classic fairy tale heroine? For one, after having played ingenues in Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 and The Gilded Age on HBO, Benton finally feels like a grown-up in Into the Woods.
"I'm not just, like, pretending to be a grown up. I'm kind of a grown up now," she admits. And she sees her Cinderella as someone also having a moment (in the woods) of questioning and growth: "Cinderella is very much in that moment that many of my millennial peers are finding ourselves in: What do I want? And how do I want to do it?"
Below, Benton talks to Playbill about why she thinks Cinderella is appearing three times in this Broadway season.