warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Go 'Into The Woods' At The Segerstrom Center

Maureen Lee Lenker |
November 6, 2014 | 3:46 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The original Broadway cast of "Into the Woods" (Photo via Playbill/Facebook)
The original Broadway cast of "Into the Woods" (Photo via Playbill/Facebook)
I wish…

I wish to go to the Festival, I wish my cow would give us some milk, I wish we had a child…

So opens “Into the Woods,” the Broadway musical that celebrates its 27th anniversary this week. The show follows the story of several Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters, including Litte Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, and weaves these narratives together to create a tightly knit fantasy world. The musical won multiple Tony Awards, including one for its book, honoring the writers’ creative look at what happens after happily-ever-after.

Nowadays, remixed fairy-tales are part of the pop culture lexicon — with television shows like “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time,” we’re no stranger to seeing fairy-tale characters interact in new ways and uncover shocking links between each other. Cinderella adopting Little Red Riding Hood after her grandmother passes away doesn’t seem so groundbreaking when you are used to revelations like Rumplestiltskin being the son of Peter Pan.

Yet, then and now, “Into the Woods” continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of its audiences with its messages about the cost of magic (and being careful what you wish for) and its reminders about the true purpose of fairy-tales — the lessons they teach. With one of its closing numbers, “Children Will Listen,” the musical hones in on its core theme — our children learn not just from the stories we tell, but from the actions and choices we make. 

The musical has had an enduring popularity since its Broadway debut in 1987, especially popular on the community and school theater front for its accessible, familiar characters and marketing potential. And it seems primed to capture a new audience with the upcoming Christmas release of a film adaptation produced by Disney and starring Meryl Streep as the witch. Although, the film is being met with a tentative reaction by die-hard "Woods" fans because of its first trailer. The trailer advertises the film without so much as one bar of singing — an odd choice for a musical that is so dominated by its music that it could nearly be classified as an operetta.

Luckily, fans of the musical, or those who are new to it and intrigued by the film, have the chance to hear from the creators of the musical and see performances from members of the original cast.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is presenting an “Into the Woods” reunion this Sunday, November 9th at 1 pm and 6 pm. The special event will feature conversations with original composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, and original director and book writer James Lapine. Lapine and Sondheim are renowned for their collaborative efforts, beginning with 1984’s “Sunday in the Park with George.” To see them discuss their process and their memories of mounting the original “Into the Woods” is a rare treat for any musical theatre devotee.

The event will also feature performances from members of the original cast, including Broadway legend Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason, who won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for originating the role of the Baker’s Wife. They’ll be joined by the original Baker, Wolf/Prince, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack, with Chip Zien, Robert Westenberg, Kim Crosby, Danielle Ferland, and Ben Wright rounding out the reunion.

SEE ALSO: THEATER TALK: Meet The Cast Of The 'Into The Woods' Movie

In 1991, PBS broadcast a taped performance featuring the original cast, which has since been available on DVD. But this is the first chance to see this cast together live since their initial Broadway run in 1987. 

Its fitting that the cast and creators should celebrate the 27th anniversary of “Into the Woods” in Southern California, as the play made its initial 1986 debut at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego before transferring to Broadway.

Whether or not you’ve been there before, any fans of musical theater should try to go 'into the woods' this weekend for this rare opportunity to hear from and see performances from a spectacular array of Broadway talent. 

The Into the Woods Reunion is one-night only, Sunday November 9th at 1 and 6 pm at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (600 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626) . Tickets start at $59. For more information visit Scfta.org

Contact Staff Reporter Maureen Lee Lenker here or follow her on Twitter @maureenlee89



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.