By:   |  Jan. 31, 2024
Photo by Michele Anliker Photography.

The Encore Musical Theatre Company has announced the impressive cast and creative team for their upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine‘s timeless musical masterpiece, Into the Woods, running from February 15 – March 3, 2024 on The Maas Stage. Captivating audiences for nearly 40 years, this beloved musical will transport theatergoers into a world where fairy tales take an unexpected twist.

Matthew Brennan, who directed The Encore’s 2017 award-winning production of Sweeney Todd, returns to direct the production, with music direction by Frank E. Pitts (The Encore’s White Christmas and Once on This Island). Featuring an accomplished cast of professional actors, complemented by top-notch designers and a full orchestra, The Encore is set to deliver a fresh production that creates an immersive and unforgettable musical experience.

Into the Woods tells the story of The Baker and his wife who wish to have a child but learn that they are unable due to a curse that the witch next door placed on the Baker’s family. The witch sends them on a journey into the woods to collect items to reverse 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. The musical weaves together the fairy tale characters of Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, exploring the consequences of wishes and the unforeseen challenges that follow.

“There’s a reason fairytales are told over and over and passed down from generation to generation.” Says director, Matthew Brennan. “What happens when we strip what we think we know of these stories down to their humanity, see ourselves within them, and try to understand why we tell them over and over and in numerous variations and adaptations? If you love Into the Woods, come see us. If you’ve never seen Into the Woods, come see us. If you want to see one of the most remarkable and unique groups of superhumans reshape your perception of what these characters, stories, and music can do, come see us. This is not your mother’s Into the Woods… or maybe it is after all.”

The cast will be led by Broadway veteran, Jessica Grové as the Baker’s Wife, and Encore newcomers, Marcus Jordan as The Baker, Jennifer Horne as The Witch, Nicholas Kraft as Cinderella’s Prince/The Wolf, University of Michigan freshman, Tsumari Patterson as Jack, Sienna Berkseth (The Sound of Music national tour) as Little Red Riding Hood, and Lucia Flowers as Rapunzel. Returning to The Maas stage are Encore favorites, Aidan Jones (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Thousand Faces) as The Narrator, Ash Moran (Little Shop of Horrors, Tribute:Paul Simon & Garfunkel) as Cinderella, Sarah B. Stevens (42nd Street, Mamma Mia!) as Jack’s Mother, Gayle E. Martin (Smokey Joe’s Café) as Milky White/The Giantess, Marcus Calderon (Mamma Mia!, Tribute: Billy Joel) as Rapunzel’s Prince, Marlene Inman (White Christmas, Hello Dolly) as Cinderella’s Stepmother/Mother/Granny, Dan Morrison as The Mysterious Man, Sabrina Dahlgren as Lucinda, and Elizabeth Jaffeas Florinda.

The award-winning design team includes a set by Sarah Tanner and costumes by Marilee Dechart, lighting by Justin Gibson and sound by Chris Goosman. The production stage manager is Ariel Sheets, with assistance from Jada McCarthy and Emma Hutchinson. The production is licensed by Music Theatre International.