Phylicia Rashad Will Give Voice to the Giant in Signature's Into the Woods | Playbill

Regional News Phylicia Rashad Will Give Voice to the Giant in Signature's Into the Woods

The D.C.-area production will set the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical in a decaying Victorian nursery.

Phylicia Rashad Heather Gershonowitz

Two-time Tony winner Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun, Skeleton Crew) will give voice to The Giant in Signature Theatre's upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, which begins performances in Arlington, Virginia, November 9 in the MAX Theatre.

Rashad's history with the Sondheim classic stretches back to the original Broadway production, where she succeeded three-time Tony recipient Bernadette Peters as The Witch. Among others who have also famously pre-recorded the voice of The Giant are Oscar winner Judi Dench (2002 Broadway revival and 2010 production at London's Regent's Park), three-time Tony winner Glenn Close (2012 Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park production), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2022 production at Arkansas Repertory Theater).

Featuring Jonathan Tunick's full original orchestrations, performances will continue at the Signature through January 29, 2023.

The company features Christopher Bloch as the Narrator/Mysterious Man, Kurt Boehm as the Steward, Simone Brown as Rapunzel, Alex De Bard as Little Red Riding Hood, Sherri L. Edelen as Jack’s Mother, Crystal J. Freeman as Cinderella’s Mother/Granny, Vincent Kempski as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf, Jake Loewenthal as The Baker, David Merino as Jack, Adelina Mitchell as Florinda, Katie Mariko Murray as Cinderella, Nova Y. Payton as The Witch, Lawrence Redmond as Cinderella’s Father, Maria Rizzo as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Paul Scanlan as Rapunzel’s Prince, Erin Weaver as The Baker’s Wife, and Chani Wereley as Lucinda. Drake Leach, Julia Wheeler Lennon, Dylan Toms, and Casandra Victoria are the swings.

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Signature Theatre Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner directs and choreographs Into the Woods with Jon Kalbfleisch as music director of the show's 15-piece orchestra. The production will also feature scenic design by Lee Savage (She Loves Me), costume design by David I. Reynoso (Sleep No More), lighting design by Amanda Zieve (Titanic), sound design by Eric Norris, wig design by Tommy Kurzman (Macbeth), and make-up design by Alison Samantha Johnson (Blackbeard). Chelsea Pace serves as resident intimacy consultant and choreographer.

"The creative team and I have set the production in an abandoned Victorian nursery," said Gardiner in an earlier statement, "with crumbling plaster and overgrown vines. It’s a space where nature has forced its way through the floorboards and windows to reclaim it, where swiftly growing weeds hide broken treasures and characters that once lived only in a child’s fairytale book spin and weave around the space like apparitions from once upon a time.”

Also on the creative team are Kerry Epstein as production stage manager, Casey Kaleba as fight choreographer, Clancey Yovanovich as associate director, and Carson Eubank as associate music director and rehearsal pianist. Signature casting is by Jorge Acevedo. Assisting on the team are Alexa Duimstra, Heather Hardin, Samantha Weiser, Julia Singer, and Taylor Kiechlin.

With music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book penned by Lapine, Into the Woods intertwines classic fairytales in an adventure that shows what it costs to make a wish come true. Songs from the musical twist on iconic storybook fables include “Giants in the Sky,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One Is Alone,” and “Children Will Listen.” A Broadway revival of Into the Woods is currently playing the St. James Theatre through January 8, 2023.

Tickets are available at

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