amBroadway | ‘Into the Woods’ heads back to Broadway, Lia Williams exits ‘Hamlet’ and more

Into the Woods coming to Broadway
Sara Bareilles, Neil Patrick Harris, and Heather Headley in “Into the Woods.”
Photo by Joan Marcus

The widely-acclaimed City Center Encores! production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1987 fairy tale musical “Into the Woods” will play an eight-week run on Broadway over the summer at the St. James Theatre beginning June 28. This means that two Sondheim revivals (the other being “Company”) will be on Broadway at once.

Sara Bareilles and Gavin Creel, who played the Baker’s Wife and Cinderella’s Prince respectively at City Center, will reprise their roles. New to the production are Brian d’Arcy James (replacing Neil Patrick Harris as the Baker), Patina Miller (replacing Heather Headley as the Witch), Phillipa Soo (replacing Denée Benton as Cinderella), and Joshua Henry (replacing Jordan Donica as Rapunzel’s Prince.

Curiously, back in 2016, Benton (“The Guilded Age”) replaced Soo (“Hamilton”) in “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.”

Williams exits ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Oresteia’

English actress Lia Williams (“The Crown”), who was to have headlined “Hamlet” and “The Oresteia” in repertory at the Park Avenue Armory this summer, has exited the productions due to an injury.

In her place, two-time Tony Award-winner Jennifer Ehle will play Gertrude in “Hamlet” and Anastasia Hille will play Klytemnestra in “The Oresteia.” These productions (which were delayed by the pandemic) originated at London’s Almeida Theatre and are directed by Robert Icke (“1984” on Broadway).

Broadway will celebrate ‘Thanksgiving Play’

“The Thanksgiving Play,” a satire of theater artists trying to create a culturally sensitive, non-offensive Thanksgiving children’s pageant in honor of Native American Heritage Month, will be produced on Broadway next spring by Second Stage.

This will make Larissa FastHorse the first female Native American writer to have a play on Broadway. The play was previously presented Off-Broadway in 2018.

Last year, a starry digital production was mounted with Keanu Reeves, Bobby Cannavale, and Heidi Schreck.

‘Almost Famous’ musical set for New York

A stage musical adaptation of “Almost Famous,” the 2000 coming-of-age film about a teenage journalist on the road with a rock band in the 1970s, will play Broadway in the fall, with previews beginning in September.

Cameron Crowe, who directed the film, wrote the book and lyrics for the musical, with music by Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”) and direction by Jeremy Herrin (“Wolf Hall”).

De Shields to play Frederick Douglass at Flushing Town Hall

André De Shields, who played his final performance in “Hadestown” last weekend and is set to join the Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman” in the fall, will perform his solo bio drama “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” in honor of Juneteenth on Sunday, June 19 at Flushing Town Hall.

Approximately 157 years ago, Douglass himself gave a speech at the same venue.