It would appear that Into the Woods is getting into the Hollywood game as there was a reading done recently involving a “who’s who” list from Broadway. According to Broadway.com here was who was in attendance:
CHARACTER ACTOR PREVIOUS / CURRENT CREDITS Baker’s Wife Nina Arianda Broadway: Venus in Fur (Tony win), Born Yesterday (Tony nom) Stepmother Christine Baranski Broadway: The Real Thing and Rumors (Tony win); TV: The Good Wife Florinda Tammy Blanchard Broadway: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Gypsy (Tony noms) Cinderella’s Mother/Granny/Giant Victoria Clark Broadway: The Light in the Piazza (Tony win) and Sister Act Baker James Corden Broadway: One Man, Two Guvnors (Tony win) and The History Boys Wolf Ivan Hernandez Off-Broadway: Cinderella’s Prince and the Wolf in the 2012 Central Park staging of Into the Woods Lucinda Megan Hilty Broadway: 9 to 5; TV: Smash Rapunzel’s Prince Cheyenne Jackson Broadway: Xanadu, Finian’s Rainbow and currently The Performers Jack’s Mother Allison Janney Broadway: A View from the Bridge (Tony nom) and 9 to 5 Cinderella Anna Kendrick Broadway: High Society (Tony nom); Film: Up in the Air (Oscar nom) Steward/Baker’s Father Michael McGrath Broadway: Nice Work If You Can Get It (Tony win) and Spamalot (Tony nom) Witch Donna Murphy Broadway: Sondheim’s Passion and The King and I (both Tony wins); The People in the Picture, Lovemusik and Wonderful Town (all Tony noms) Rapunzel Laura Osnes Broadway: Bonnie & Clyde (Tony nom) and currently in Cinderella Jack Taylor Trensch Off-Broadway: upcoming Bare Little Red Riding Hood Casey Whyland Broadway: Billy Elliot Cinderella’s Prince Patrick Wilson Broadway: Oklahoma! and The Full Monty (both Tony noms) Screenplay Narrator David Garrison Broadway: A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine (both Tony nom), also of Wicked and Silence!
Now anyone that knows what a reading consists of would know that this is most likely not the final cast. I wouldn’t be surprised if the production team of Into the Woods is waiting to see how Les Miserables pans out before deciding their next move. Much like how Cameron Mackintosh is waiting to see what would happen before deciding if Miss Saigon would be worthwhile for a film version.
With a very good mix between Broadway vets, Broadway / television stars, Broadway / movie stars… this proves that the material is not only demanding the best of the best of the actors that sing well, but also the idea of how this material may move closer to the original theatrical version of the production.
A few noticeable differences
1: “The Narrator” in the stage production typically doubles as the Baker’s Father aka “Mysterious Man” whileas here it is Michael McGrath that read for both the Steward and the Baker’s Father
2: “Cinderella’s Prince” usually doubles for the “Wolf” whileas here they are being read separately
For me personally, there are quite a few of these actors / actresses that I would love to see in the final product, and others that I could without, but what can you do?
After seeing several incarnations of Into the Woods, I must admit a film version is rather enticing.
Then again… when there are a few songs floating about out there from a fabled demo recording of a possible film version, but for some reason I keep imagining a film version of Into the Woods would be set in such a way where the “woods” was a major city with sky scrapers and that is how everyone gets lost because they are all suburbanites a la Ella Enchanted in a way.
So I will be interested to see if a film version would go with the fantasy / fairytales side or attempt to modernize the stories and set it in the city feel? If done right the latter would be fun… as opposed to the tried and true.