I quickly fell in love with Into the Woods after seeing the film, and have become very familiar with the original Broadway cast recording. The show was revived in 2002, and what with that production hitting its 15th anniversary this year, I think another Broadway revival is well overdue.
In a new feature that I think I may keep doing because of how fun this post was, I picked some of Into the Woods’ main roles and matched them with Broadway actors I can easily envision playing the role in the near future.
Baker – Santino Fontana
I see Santino Fontana as an everyman, and the role of the Baker is that of an ordinary man thrust into this quest that’s asking so much of him. It’s hard to pick someone for this role when Chip Zien was so great in the original production, but I think Santino both fits the mold Zien set and has differences that could make his portrayal unique.
Baker’s Wife – Jessie Mueller
This choice actually didn’t come as clearly as the others did, but it makes sense the more that I think about it. She played Cinderella in the show’s Central Park production and has talked about how much she loves Into the Woods, but I think it’s suiting for her to take on the Baker’s Wife because it’s a more mature role than Cinderella. The first time Jessie did Into the Woods, she hadn’t become a huge Broadway star yet. Now, she’s a huge name in theater and has stepped up to leading roles that are more experienced, worldly women. I think it’d be interesting to see her in the position of supporting her husband and wanting to have a child so desperately that they choose to go on this mission together.
Witch – Audra McDonald or Patti LuPone
You need a true theater legend to play the Witch, and I couldn’t decide between Patti or Audra. I can see Patti blowing away the Witch’s part of the Prologue but Audra doing beautifully on songs like “Last Midnight” and “Stay with Me.” Either could be an amazing choice to play what’s really a headliner role and a leader within the cast.
Jack – Nicholas Barasch
Listen to this and try telling me that you can’t hear this voice tackling “Giants in the Sky.” Unless a revival goes in the direction of the movie and casts Jack as a much younger boy, Nicholas Barasch is ideal.
The Princes – Colin Donnell and Leslie Odom Jr.
Cinderella’s Prince usually doubles as the Wolf as well, and because I’ve only seen the Into the Woods film and not a stage production, I don’t really know what Rapunzel’s Prince does. So this wish is made solely from how awesome I think “Agony” would be with these two singing it. Plus, it’d be fun to see Leslie Odom Jr. in a classic musical – I tried finding some quality recordings of him performing more traditional musical theater, but the few that surfaced didn’t have great audio. I also had guys like Zachary Levi and Ramin Karimloo in mind for the pairing of the princes.
Cinderella – Samantha Massell
I think Samantha Massell has the perfect voice for Cinderella. Based off both her Fiddler performance and clips I’ve seen of her singing other songs, she can handle both the slow, solemn moments of the character (“No One is Alone”) and the quippy, more comical bits (“On the Steps of the Palace”).
Little Red Riding Hood – Sarah Charles Lewis
This amazing little girl made her Broadway debut last year in Tuck Everlasting. I love her voice, and I think she’s so composed for someone so young, making her the perfect Red out there.
What do you think of these choices? Do you see anyone else playing one of these roles?