Bernadette Peters Goes Back "Into the Woods"

Mike TuttleLife

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"How many of you know Into the Woods?"

On November 9 a reunion of the original cast and creators of the award-winning musical Into the Woods took place at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA.

The event was hosted by humorist Mo Rocca who spoke to composer Stephen Sondheim and librettist James Lapine for the first 20 minutes as they discussed the musical's inspiration and origins. The two men even talked about their conflicts, which were few.

“Steve had a rule,” said Lapine. “‘Whoever cares the most wins.’”

The first performers to take the stage were Chip Zien (the Baker) and Joanna Gleason (the Baker's Wife) who sang a rendition of "It Takes Two." During the original production Zien and Gleason had an off-stage relationship which, Gleason said, definitely had its peaks and valleys.

"He was the first actor I ever worked with who I ended up hitting," said Gleason.

Zien finished the segment with "No More" followed by Kim Crosby (Cinderella) who sang "On the Steps of the Palace."

Others to perform that evening were Robert Westenberg (Cinderella's Prince, and later the Wolf), who is now Crosby's real-life husband, Danielle Ferland (Little Red Riding Hood), and Ben Wright (Jack) who, although he's now a financial advisor, still sang a magical rendition of "Giants in the Sky."

Last but not least came Bernadette Peters, 66, who basically took over the second half of the night, talking onstage with Sondheim and Lapine and performing numbers such as "Stay With Me" and "Last Midnight." As always, Peters' voice was stage gold and she looked like she hasn't aged a day.

In the past, Sondheim has said of Peters, "Like very few others, she sings and acts at the same time. Most performers act and then sing, act and then sing ... Bernadette is flawless as far as I'm concerned. I can't think of anything negative."

The evening ended with the entire cast coming together to sing "Children Will Listen."

With the excitement of Disney's Into the Woods film opening on Christmas Day, new fans are being grown every minute. Oddly enough, the film was barely mentioned at the November 9 event which instead focused on the show's nearly 30-year heritage.

Rocca even asked Sondheim and Lapine about creating a sequel.

"Out of the Woods?" Sondheim replied, but left the question unanswered.

Mike Tuttle

Google+ Writer for WebProNews.