Confirmed: Donna Murphy to Star in INTO THE WOODS in Central Park
As first reported exclusively by BroadwayWorld.com last week, The Public Theater confirmed today that Tony Award-winner Donna Murphy has been cast as The Witch in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's beloved musical INTO THE WOODS, directed by Timothy Sheader with co-direction by Liam Steel. Murphy last performed at the Delacorte in the Shakepeare in the Park production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1985. INTO THE WOODS will begin previews on Monday, July 23 and continue for five weeks through Saturday, August 25 with an official press opening on Thursday, August 9.
As previously announced, the cast will also include Amy Adams (The Baker's Wife), Jack Broderick (Narrator), Gideon Glick (Jack), Cooper Grodin (Rapunzel's Prince), Ivan Hernandez (Cinderella's Prince/Wolf), Tina Johnson (Granny), Josh Lamon (Steward), Jessie Mueller (Cinderella), Laura Shoop (Cinderella's Mother), and Tess Soltau (Rapunzel).
AS YOU LIKE IT, directed by Daniel Sullivan, will kick off the 50th Anniversary season of free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte in June with a cast that includes MacIntyre Dixon (Adam), David Furr (Orlando), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Celia), Robert Joy (Le Beau, Lord), Omar Metwally (Oliver), Oliver Platt (Touchstone), Lily Rabe (Rosalind), and Stephen Spinella (Jaques). AS YOU LIKE IT will begin previews on Tuesday, June 5 and continue for four weeks through Saturday, June 30.
Grammy® and Emmy winning actor/comedian/musician and bestselling author Steve Martin will compose original music for AS YOU LIKE IT which will feature a live Bluegrass band. AS YOU LIKE IT is Shakespeare's most musical play, containing more songs than any other. Sullivan will set the play's famous Forest of Arden in the rural American South, circa 1840, where folk and roots music perfectly capture the mood of the time.
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers' latest album Rare Bird Alert debuted at #1 on Billboard's Bluegrass Chart and at #43 on the Billboard Top 200. The album was nominated for a Grammy® for "Best Bluegrass Album" and features 13 new Martin-penned tracks, including a live version of "King Tut," and special guest vocals by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks. His debut album The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo won "Best Bluegrass Album" in 2009. Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers were also named 'Entertainer of the Year' at the 2011 International Bluegrass Association Awards.
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, THE DELACORTE THEATER officially opened in Central Park on June 18, 1962 with The Merchant of Venice, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan and featuring George C. Scott as Shylock. The Merchant of Venice was followed that summer by a production of The Tempest, directed by Gerald Freedman and featuring Paul Stevens as Prospero and James Earl Jones as Caliban. The first Delacorte summer season concluded with King Lear, directed by Joseph Papp and Gladys Vaughan and featuring Frank Silvera as Lear. Since then more than 100 productions have been presented for free at the Delacorte Theater. Highlights of past Delacorte productions include Othello in 1964 with James Earl Jones; Hamlet in 1975 with Sam Waterston; The Taming of the Shrew in 1978 with Raul Julia and Meryl Streep; The Pirates of Penzance in 1980 with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt; Henry V in 1984 with Kevin Kline; Much Ado About Nothing in 1988 with Kevin Kline and Blythe Danner; Richard III in 1990 with Denzel Washington; Othello in 1991 with Raul Julia and Christopher Walken; The Tempest in 1995 with Patrick Stewart; The Seagull in 2001 with Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Philip Seymour Hoffman; Mother Courage in 2006 with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline; Macbeth in 2006 with Liev Schreiber; HAIR in 2008 with Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson; Twelfth Night in 2009 with Anne Hathaway; The Merchant of Venice in 2010 with Al Pacino and Lily Rabe; and most recently last summer's acclaimed productions of All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure.
AS YOU LIKE IT features scenic design by John Lee Beatty; costume design by Jane Greenwood; lighting design by Natasha Katz; and sound design by ACME Sound Partners.
INTO THE WOODS features scenic design by John Lee Beatty and Soutra Gilmour; costume design by Emily Rebholz; movement direction by Liam Steel; sound design by ACME Sound Partners, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick; and musical direction by Paul Gemignani.
In AS YOU LIKE IT, Rosalind, Shakespeare's most breathtaking heroine, and her boyfriend Orlando find themselves in the enchanted Forest of Arden, where all the world's a stage, and where sudden infatuation is as confusing as it is beautiful. Along with other "country copulatives," they discover that nothing transforms, redeems, or enriches experience quite as powerfully as love. AS YOU LIKE IT has everything we adore about Shakespearean comedy: mistaken identity, cross-dressing, madness, mayhem, rage, lust, laughter, and of course plenty of romance, both heartbreaking and joyous.
In INTO THE WOODS, a witch's curse condemns the Baker and his Wife to a life without children. They embark on a quest to find the four items required to break the spell: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. Will they succeed? And what happens after "happily ever after?" A Tony Award-winning masterpiece by musical theater giants Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, INTO THE WOODS is a witty and irreverent reimagining of beloved classic fairytales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.
INTO THE WOODS opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on November 5, 1987 and played 764 performances. It earned three Tony Awards, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical and a Grammy Award. Directed by James Lapine, the original Broadway production featured a cast that included Bernadette Peters as the Witch and Joanna Gleason as the Baker's Wife. James Lapine also directed the 2002 Broadway revival that opened on April 30, 2002 at the Broadhurst Theatre and starred Vanessa Williams as the Witch and Laura Benanti as Cinderella.
The 2012 Shakespeare in the Park summer production of INTO THE WOODS is based on the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre London Production, produced by Timothy Sheader and William Village for Regent's Park Theatre Ltd.
Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are FREE and are distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park the day of the show. The Public Theater will again offer free tickets through our Virtual Ticketing lottery at www.shakespeareinthepark.org on the day of the show.
In honor of five decades at the Delacorte, The Public Theater launched the 50th Anniversary Fellows Program this year to help support free Shakespeare in the Park for years to come. For more information on the Fellows Program, please call 212-967-7555 or visit www.shakespeareinthepark.org.
Summer Supporter Tickets, first conceived by Joe Papp, are available now for AS YOU LIKE IT and INTO THE WOODS. A fully tax-deductible contribution of $175 entitles each Supporter to one reserved seat for either production. A limited number of Summer Supporter seats are available to ensure that as many free seats as possible will be available to distribute to the general public on the day of the show. Supporter contributions help to underwrite free Shakespeare in the Park.
Summer Supporter donations can be made at The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street, by phone at (212) 967-7555, or online at www.publictheater.org. Seating locations for donors are allocated strictly by giving level and in the order that they are received.