TODAY show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford will be the voice of the Giant’s Wife in NextStop Theatre’s upcoming production of Into the Woods, the company announced today. In so doing, she joins Dame Judi Dench, Glenn Close, and Angela Lansbury who have lent their performances to the Act 2 agony of the Giant’s widow.
NextStop’s Artistic Director Evan Hoffman, who is directing the Sondheim musical, had worked with Ms. Gifford at Signature Theatre. “I have known Evan since he was in an early production of Saving Aimee at Signature Theatre back in 2007. So I was happy when he asked me to record the voice of the Giant’s Wife,” Gifford is quoted as saying. “I love the DC theatre community, I adore Stephen Sondheim, and I am always thrilled to help a friend who is working to achieve his dreams.”
Into the Woods combines the iconic stories of Little Red Ridinghood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack (the giant killer), with the new tale of a childless baker and his wife. Their intertwining quests into the woods result in a twistedly funny, but sobering musical about the cost and consequences of “happily ever after.”
The original Broadway production garnered three Tony Awards and a Grammy, and inspired the Hollywood movie starring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Anna Kendrick, due out at Christmastime.
Into the Woods will be the first musical for the ambitious professional company, which, by the conclusion of its first season will have produced eight productions, one in collaboration with Faction of Fools and brought improv night to Herndon audiences.
But NextStop is by no means an inexperienced company. Previously known as Elden Street Players, the well regarded community theatre made its transition to the professional ranks seemingly effortlessly last summer. “I think Into the Woods is probably my favorite work by Stephen Sondheim.” Hoffman said on the NextStop website. “The simple fairy tales matched with the wit and wisdom of the greatest musical theatre composer of all time is exceptional. We have only done three Sondheim musicals in the past twenty-?ve years. I think it is high time we ?x that statistic.”
Into the Woods will run from May 1 to June 1, 2014 at the Industrial Strength Theatre in Herndon, VA.
The cast will be led by 2013 Helen Hayes Award winner Priscilla Cuellar as the Witch and 2014 nominee John Loughney as the Baker. They will be joined by Laura Fontaine as Florinda, Scott Gaines as Cinderella’s Prince/The Wolf, Scott Harrison as Rapunzel’s Prince, Jennifer Lambert as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Ryan Manning as the Narrator, Brittany Martz as Cinderella, Sean McComas as Jack, Katie McManus as the Baker’s Wife, Lynn Audrey Neal as Jack’s Mother, Nora Palka as Little Red Ridinghood, Allizon Reggioli as Cinderella’s Mother/Granny, Blakeman Brophy as the Mysterious Man, Suzanne Stanley as Rapunzel, Danny Tippett as the Steward, and Jaclyn Young as Lucinda. And Kathie Lee Gifford as the Giant’s Wife.