The current Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods began as a City Center Encores! production directed by artistic director Lear deBessonet, where it was so beloved that it transferred to Broadway where it has already extended. The musical is a favorite to many, and this production has quite a bit to love. Here are just a few:
1. The show features an all-star cast.
This revival of Into the Woods is full of Broadway favorites and A-listers. It includes Brian d’Arcy James, Joshua Henry, Gavin Creel, Phillipa Soo, Sara Bareilles, Patina Miller, and Nancy Opel. In addition to these legends the cast features two actors making their Broadway debuts, Cole Thompson and Julia Lester. In these capable hands, this is an Into the Woods chock-full of powerhouse performances, a true masterclass in musical theatre.
2. This production is a fitting tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim.
This revival feels like not only a gift to fans of the original production, but also a love letter and a farewell to the late, great composer who wrote it. Sondheim was famously meticulous about lyrics and always wrote complex scores, and this production allows both to shine by focusing on the performances and by having the pit play on stage, in full view of the audience.
3. The production is a great mix of traditional and new takes.
Into the Woods has many devoted fans, and this production honors them and the original production by staying quite true to the original. That said, it also includes some fresh new moments, line readings, jokes, and vocal interpretations. It is neither a replica nor a revisal, but something that finds the sweet spot in between.
4. You can see this revival multiple times and enjoy different casts.
The current cast is performing until September 4th and then there will be some more changes, including Stephanie J. Block, Sebastian Arcelus, Montego Glover, Krysta Rodriguez, Andy Karl, Ann Harada, and more. Part of the fun of this production is going to see it again and again, enjoying the new moments the different cast members find in the roles.
5. This version of Into the Woods features diverse casting.
Something that makes this revival of Into the Woods both unique and powerful is the diversity within the cast. For example, having Black women play the witch (Heather Headley at City Center and Patina Miller on Broadway), Rapunzel (Alysia Velez), and having a woman of color play Cinderella (Denee Benton at City Center and Phillipa Soo on Broadway) helps bring new, deeper meanings to these roles, their stories, and the musical overall.
6. There are puppets.
One unexpected star of this production is Milky White. James Orrtiz’s puppet design and Kennedy Kanagawa’s extraordinary puppeteering bring Jack’s beloved cow to life. The cow has become a sensation on social media, an audience favorite, and has been written out about in many major outlets. Throughout the show Milky White even gets an impressive amount of laughs and applause.
7. Into the Woods has an enthusiastic audience of Broadway-goers.
The audience for this production is passionate, ready to laugh applaud, and by the end, shed many a tear. It is a touching sight to have an audience love a show so much and enthusiastically applaud each and every entrance, major moment, and song. This show is on Broadway—and extended—by popular demand, and the fans are showing up and showing their intense support for the production, which makes the theatre-going experience that much more enjoyable.