Griffin Helmed INTO THE WOODS Extends Run At Writers Theatre

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, adds five performances to the run of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical masterpiece Into the Woods, directed by Gary Griffin. Into the Woods now runs through September 29, 2019 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.

Newly added performances for Into the Woods are Thursday, September 26 at 7:30pm; Friday, September 27 at 7:30pm; Saturday, September 28 at 3pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday, September 29 at 2pm.

 When a childless baker and his wife set out to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods, they encounter Jack (with his beanstalk), Cinderella (and her prince) and Little Red Riding Hood (and her wolf)! These familiar characters find themselves in decidedly unfamiliar circumstances and must brave the darkness of the woods in an effort to break the curse, conquer their fears and find out if what they’ve always wished for is what they truly want. 

This epic fairy tale adventure is reimagined in a newly-configured Nichols Theatre staged “in the round,” drawing audiences into a theatrical experience unlike anything previously seen at WT! With its celebrated score, stirring script and an extraordinary team of artists bringing it all to life, Into the Woods launched WT’s 2019/20 Season as the musical theatre event of the season. Chicago and Broadway Director Gary Griffin (Parade) returned to stage this Tony Award-winning musical about fairy tales, family and what happens after “happily ever after.” 

The cast of Into the Woods includes: Nicole Armold (Lucinda), Ben Barker (Jack), Alex Benoit (Rapunzel’s Prince), Brianna Borger (Baker’s Wife), William Brown (Mysterious Man/Cinderella’s Father), McKinley Carter (Jack’s Mother), Matt Edmonds (Steward/Wolf), Lucy Godínez (Little Red Riding Hood), Michael Halberstam (Narrator), Kelli Harrington (Cinderella’s Stepmother), Molly Hernández (Florinda), Cecilia Iole (Rapunzel), Michael Mahler (The Baker), Ryan McBride (Cinderella’s Prince), Harriet Nzinga Plumpp (Cinderella’s Mother/Granny), Mary Poole (Milky White), Ximone Rose (Cinderella), Bethany Thomas (Witch) and Jonathan Weir (Mysterious Man/Cinderella’s Father beginning 9/17). The band consists of Charlotte Rivard-Hoster (Piano-Conductor), Jeff Handley and Brandon Podjasek (Percussion) and Mike Matlock (Woodwinds.)

The creative team for Into the Woods includes: Scott Davis (Scenic Designer), Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Designer), Lee Fiskness (Lighting Designer), Christopher M. LaPorte (Sound Designer), Seph Mozes (Dramaturg), Nick Moran (CFM Contractor), Sophiyaa Nayaar (Assistant Director), Sasha Smith (Intimacy & Fight Director), Geoff Button (Casting Director), Binder Casting (Casting Consultant), and Katie Klemme (Production Stage Manager).

Single tickets for Into the Woods are priced $50 – $80 and are available at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Gary Griffin (Director) previously directed Parade, The Detective’s Wife and Loot at Writers Theatre. Victory Gardens Theater: Fun HomeHand to GodNever the SinnerAppropriate. London: Pacific Overtures (Donmar Warehouse, Olivier Award, Best Musical Production and Olivier Nominee, Best Director). Broadway: Honeymoon in VegasThe Color Purple. Off-Broadway: Saved (Playwrights Horizons); The Apple TreeA Tree Grows in BrooklynPardon My EnglishThe New Moon (Encores). Regional: Antony and CleopatraCamelotWest Side Story (Stratford Festival); work at McCarter, Alliance, Hartford Stage, Signature, Kansas City Rep., The Muny. Chicago: Road ShowGypsySunday in the Park With GeorgeFolliesAmadeusA Little Night MusicPacific Overtures (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Merry WidowThe MikadoOklahoma (Lyric Opera of Chicago); 10 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Directing.

Matt Deitchman (Music Director & Orchestrations) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously music directed TREVOR the musical. He previously understudied The Hunter and the Bear. Matt Deitchman is a New York based music director, orchestrator, actor, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Most recently in Chicagoland he was seen on stage at the Paramount Theatre in the world premiere of August Rush, directed by John Doyle. Other Chicago music credits include: She Loves Me, Shrek, Spring Awakening, October Sky, The King And I, HERO (Marriott Theatre), Tug of War, Road Show, Peter Pan, Madagascar, Seussical, Shrek (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Indecent (Victory Gardens Theatre), The Wizard Of Oz (Paramount Theatre), The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Mercury Theater Chicago), Adding Machine, Into The Woods (The Hypocrites), Wonderland…Alice’s Rock ‘n Roll Adventure (Chicago Children’s Theater), La Révolution Française (FWD Theater Project), Ragtime, 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (Griffin Theatre), Ghost Bike, She Kills Monsters (Buzz22 Chicago), The Pajama Game, Do I Hear A Waltz? (Music Theatre Company). Regional credits include: Shakespeare Theatre Co., Adirondack Theatre Festival, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Door Shakespeare. He served as a contributing orchestrator to the LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT concert at Cooper Union in NYC. Deitchman has previously worked as a vocal coach for the Northwestern University Musical Theater department, where he received his degree in Theatre and Musical Theatre and studied acting under Mary Poole. He is a proud member of the American Federation of Musicians, American Guild of Musical Artists, and Actors’ Equity Association and is represented by Stewart Talent. 

Aubrey Adams (Choreographer) returns to Writers Theatre where she previously choreographed TREVOR the musical. She is a Chicago performer as well as a Jeff Award winning choreographer. Choreography credits include: Company (Mercury Theatre), Bonnie & Clyde (Kokandy Theatre Company), Guys and Dolls (Northwestern University), 110 in the ShadeUrinetown (BoHo Theatre, Jeff Award 2017), Associate Choreographer: Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Porchlight Music Theatre). Assistant Choreographer: Music Man (Goodman Theatre), Shrek (Marriott Theatre), Mamma Mia and A Christmas Story (Paramount Theatre).

Nicole Armold (Lucinda) Some recent Chicago credits include: Mary PoppinsPippinCompanyChristmas Schooner (Mercury Theater), Ride the CycloneSense and Sensibility (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), How to Succeed…The Merry Widow (Music Theater Works) and Into the Woods (Metropolis). She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Ben Barker (Jack) Chicago credits include Willard in Footloose, Moritz in Spring Awakening, O’Dell in October Sky (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre), Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, the title role in Candide (Music Theater Works), Les Misérables (Paramount Theatre) and Sweeney Todd (Porchlight Music Theatre). Regional credits include Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ A Little Night MusicTwelfth NightThe Comedy of Errors and Richard IIIand the Palace Theater in the Dells’ A Christmas Carol. Northwestern alum.

Alex Benoit (Rapunzel’s Prince) Alex spent the last four years competing overseas for Team USA as a National and World Ranked Ice Dancer. Upon retiring from Ice Dance, Alex transitioned into the world of professional acting, in the Michigan premier of Daddy Long Legs (Dio Theatre) before returning home to Chicago. Chicago Regional Credits include: Rudolpho in Matilda, Mamma Mia! (Drury Lane) and Something in the Game (American Music Theatre Project).

Brianna Borger (Baker’s Wife) Chicago: Southern Gothic (World Premiere, Windy City Playhouse), The King & I (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination – Best Actress), Into the Woods (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Christmas Schooner, The Bardy Bunch (Mercury Theatre), Billy Elliot, Bye Bye Birdie (Drury Lane) and The Three Musketeers (World Premiere, Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Regional: The Full Monty (Peninsula Players), Always… Patsy Cline, Nunsense (The Armory), Beauty & the Beast (Northern Stage), Assassins and Love’s Labours Lost (Alaska Shakespeare Festival). Touring: The King & I (Broadway Asia). So very proud to be part of the Chicago theatre community, and always honored to come home to Writers Theatre. Brianna also teaches musical theatre voice and audition technique for students and professionals.

William Brown (Mysterious Man/Cinderella’s Father) Bill has directed 20 productions at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, including The Recruiting OfficerThree Sisters, King LearTravesties, The Importance of Being Earnest, All My Sons, Troilus and Cressida, The Critic, Hay Fever, The Comedy of ErrorsNight of the Iguana, Antony and Cleopatra, All’s Well That Ends Well, You Never Can Tell and The Matchmaker. He directed and wrote (with Doug Frew) To Master the Art for TimeLine Theatre Company where he is an Associate Artist and most recently directed the world premiere of Susan Felder’s Wasteland. He has directed four plays at Northlight, including his own adaptation with music of She Stoops to Conquers. He directed Skylight at Court Theatre and at Indiana Rep, Around the World in Eighty Days and Fallen Angels. He is the Associate Artistic Director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, where he has directed and acted since 1980. He regularly teaches and directs at universities across the country, most recently Loyola University Chicago, University of Houston, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern. As an actor Brown has appeared in over a hundred productions. He appeared as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre where he also appeared in Light up the SkySunday in the Park with GeorgeThe Misanthrope and Wings. At Court Theatre, he appeared as Falstaff in Henry IV, Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest and Almady in The Play’s The Thing. He created the role of Jody in Steven Dietz’s Lonely Planet (Northlight Theatre). Brown received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Director for The Liar (Writers Theatre) and a Best Actor award for his portrayal of Henry Kissinger in Nixon’s Nixon (Writers Theatre).  He received a 2010 Spirit of Diversity Award from Actors’ Equity Association and was named Chicagoan of the Year for Theatre by the Chicago Tribune in 2003.

McKinley Carter (Jack’s Mother) Chicago credits include Mamma Mia, Ragtime (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Blind Date, Turn of the CenturyThe Visit, Floyd Collins (Goodman Theatre) The Book of Will(Northlight Theatre), Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater) The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Mercury Theater Chicago), The Merry WidowCarousel (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Road Show, Julius CaesarSunday in the Park with George (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), My Way (Theatre At the Center), Putting It Together (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Sound of Music, John and Jen (Apple Tree Theatre), James Joyce’s The DeadCymbeline and Pericles (Court Theatre).

Matt Edmonds (Steward/Wolf) A Chicago native, Matt Edmonds has been performing in the area for about ten years. Recent work includes: Murder For Two (Marriott Lincolnshire, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), Forever Plaid, Pump Boys & Dinettes, Big River (Theatre at the Center), Ragtime (Griffin Theatre, Jeff Award for Best Musical), Death of a Salesman, All-America(Redtwist Theatre, Jeff Nominations for Best Supporting – Play), Rent (Theo Ubique, Jeff Award for Best Musical), James and the Giant Peach (Drury Lane Oakbrook) and The Last Five Years(Metropolis Performing Arts Center). Regionally, Matt’s performed in Next to Normal (TheatreSquared) and Twelfth Night (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival).

Lucy Godínez (Little Red Riding Hood) Regional Chicago credits include Footloose (Ariel, Marriott Theater), In The Heights (Nina, Porchlight Music Theater), Legally Blonde (Serena, Paramount Theater), Hair (Jeannie, Mercury Theater Chicago), as well as the upcoming Oliver! (Nancy, Marriott Theater) this Fall. She is recent graduate of Northwestern University.

Michael Halberstam (Narrator) has appeared in numerous Writers Theatre productions, including Two By Shaw, Oscar Remembered, Richard II (title role), Loot, Misalliance and for a number of years his annual one man performance of A Christmas Carol. Michael is also the Artistic Director of Writers Theatre and returns to the stage for the first time in 17 years. Previously, he spent two years at The Stratford Festival in Ontario where he performed in Timon of Athens, The Knight of the Burning Pestle (title role), Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. Halberstam’s other Chicago acting credentials include productions with The Bailiwick, Lifeline, Oak Park Shakespeare, Live Bait, Wisdom Bridge, Court and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Kelli Harrington (Cinderella’s Stepmother) Kelli Harrington’s Chicago credits include Jeff Award-winning performances of The Light in the Piazza and Aspects of Love (Best Actress in a Musical) and Jeff nominations for The Bridges of Madison CountyA Little Night Music (Best Lead Performance in a Musical), Masterclass (Best Actress in a Play) and Perfect Arrangement (Best Supporting Performance in a Play). She has performed locally with Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Marriott Lincolnshire, The Hypocrites, Porchlight Music Theatre, TimeLine, BoHo Theatre Company and Pride Films and Plays. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in voice from Northwestern University and has taught voice in the Musical Theatre department at the Chicago Academy for the Arts since 2000.

Molly Hernández (Florinda) Favorite credits: María Elena in The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues Theater, Jeff Award), June Bennett in Into the Breeches (Northlight Theatre), Sophie DePalma in Masterclass (TimeLine Theatre), Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella (Theo Ubique, Jeff Nomination) and Julie Jordan in Carousel (Timber Lake Playhouse). In 2017 she received the Award of Excellence in Professional Theatre from the Illinois Theatre Association. Molly can be seen on Chicago P.D.(NBC) ep. 512 and APB (Fox) ep. 105. Molly is currently represented by Gray Talent Group and is a recent graduate of the Actors Gymnasium Circus School Professional Training Program.

Cecilia Iole (Rapunzel) Chicago credits include Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Paramount Theatre, Theo Ubique), Master Class (TimeLine Theatre), Pirates of PenzanceCandide (Music Theatre Works) and Porchlight’s New Faces Sing Broadway Now. She has worked regionally at Clarence Brown Theatre and Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona.

Michael Mahler (The Baker) Recent credits include: Holiday InnHoneymoon in Vegas, City of Angels (Marriott Theatre), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Side Man, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago (American Blues), The March (Steppenwolf Theatre), Working (Broadway in Chicago), The Fox on the Fairway, Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsThe Producers (Theatre at the Center) and The Illusion (Court). Michael is the Jeff award-winning composer/lyricist of Miracle the Musical, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, October Sky, Hero, the upcoming Secret of My Success and othersHe also contributed additional lyrics to Cameron Mackintosh’s most recent Broadway revival of Miss Saigon. Michael is currently collaborating with playwright Randall Colburn on an original musical for Writers Theatre about Jim Jones. He also served as music director of Gary Griffin’s production of Road Show at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Michael is a proud ensemble member of American Blues Theater and Actors Equity.

Ryan McBride (Cinderella’s Prince) Credits include: Noises Off (Windy City Playhouse), Continuity (Goodman Theatre), Shakespeare in Love, Julius Caesar (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), West Side Story, Mamma Mia! (Paramount Theatre), Footloose (Marriott Theatre), Romeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Symphony Orchestra with CST), Linda, Brilliant Adventures, Fallow (Steep Theatre), Sita Ram (Lookingglass Theatre Company and Chicago Children’s Choir), Letter’s Home and Ghosts of War (Griffin Theatre Company). National Tour: Evil Dead The Musical! Regional: Hand to God (Studio Theatre, Helen Hayes Nominee). TV: EmpireProven Innocent (FOX), Chicago Med, Chicago Justice (NBC) and The CHI (Showtime). 

Mary Poole (Milky White) is a Chicago teacher who acts, past performances include London Wall, Flare Path, Stage Door (Griffin Theatre), Three Sisters (Hypocrites), The Size of the World (Red Twist), Love and Information (Remy Bumppo) and multiple old ladies at Victory Gardens, Apple Tree, Wagon Wheel, and Northwestern University, where she serves as Head of Acting and Associate Chair.

Harriet Nzinga Plumpp (Cinderella’s Mother/Granny) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Harriet Nzinga Plumpp has been performing on stages professionally since she was 7 1/2 years old, starting with singing in the Chicago Children’s Choir. Harriet has collaborated with Harold Prince, Frank Galati, Gary Griffin, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Flaherty, Barbara Gaines, Tom Murray, Charles Newell, George Hern, Bob Mason, Roberta Duchak, Doug Peck, Diana Basmajian and Amber Mak at The Goodman Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theater, The Lyric Opera, Ravinia Festival and Paramount Theatre. You might have seen her recently soaring in the air as Glinda in Paramount Theatre’s Wizard of Oz and listening intently to Matilda as Mrs. Phelps at Drury Lane Oakbrook Theater in Matilda the Musical.

Ximone Rose (Cinderella), Performer & singer-songwriter. New Orleans native. University of Michigan Musical Theatre Program. Broadway: Once On This Island (Storyteller). 1st National: Beautiful (Lucille). Regional: MTW, Fulton Theatre, Old Globe. CGF Talent. 

Bethany Thomas (Witch) Bethany is a Chicago-based actor and singer, most recently in the US Premiere of the one woman show Songs For Nobodies at Milwaukee Rep. Chicago credits include The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Porgy and Bess (Serena) at Court Theatre, Marry Me A Little, Into The Woods, Nine, In Trousers (Porchlight Music Theater)  Hair (Paramount Theatre), Fiorello! (TimeLine Theatre) also work with Second City, AboutFace Theatre, The Inconvenience, Theo Ubique, Congo Square, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theatre at the Center, Marriott Lincolnshire, Hell In A Handbag and American Theater Company. Regional credits include Iphigenia In Aulis (Getty Villa), The Color Purple (Sofia), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Armelia), Ragtime, Man Of La ManchaA Christmas Carol at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Hairspray (Motormouth Maybelle) at Skylight Music Theater and Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II) at Geva Theatre. Bethany appeared in the second seasons of Empire (FOX) and You’re So Talented (OpenTV) and is a proud recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award, an After Dark Award and a Black Theatre Alliance Award. As a singer/songwriter, Bethany is a regular performer at The Paper Machete, The Hideout and in Steppenwolf’s LookOut series. She’s done concerts for WBEZ, WFMT, WTTW and the Chicago Humanities Festival, and was a featured local artist in Renee Fleming’s Chicago Voices Project at the Lyric Opera. She is one quarter of the alt-country project Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls, (self-titled album out on Bloodshot Records) and released an EP of her own music called First. Look out next year for her debut album.

Jonathan Weir (Mysterious Man/Cinderella’s Father, beginning 9/17) Chicago: King Charles, Twelfth Night, The Emperors New Clothes (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), 2666, Candide, A Christmas Carol, The Visit (Goodman Theatre), Stepping Out (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The Merry Widow starring the luminescent Renee Fleming (Lyric Opera Chicago) Billy Elliot, City of Angels, The Most Happy Fella, Gypsy, Ragtime (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Funny Girl, The First, Bye Bye Birdie and History Loves Company (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre). Regional: Montana Shakespeare, Skylight Opera Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Next Act Theatre and Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. Broadway: The Lion King. Currently on leave from the North American Tour of Disney’s Aladdin, where he performs the role of Jafar since originating the role in Chicago in April 2017. Other National Tours: Jersey Boys, The Lion King and Scrooge the Musical. 

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Post-Show Conversation: The Word

Join us after every Tuesday evening performance (excluding First Week and any extension weeks) for a 15-minute discussion of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

Post-Show Conversation: The Artist

Join us after every Wednesday evening performance (excluding First Week and any extension weeks) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

Pre-show Conversation: Up Close

Join us at 7pm in the Patron’s Lounge before every Thursday evening performance (excluding First Week and any extension weeks) for a 15-minute primer on the context and content of the play facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

RIDE METRA TO WRITERS THEATRE

In an effort to promote taking public transit to the Theatre, any audience member who purchases a ticket to a Writers Theatre production and rides Metra’s Union Pacific North Line to the Theatre may snap a photo of themselves on the train and post it to their social media account with a tag of @WritersTheatre (@Writers_Theatre on Instagram) and #IntotheWoodsWT, and upon showing the post at the Writers Theatre Box Office, receive $5 in cash to put toward the cost of your fare as a thank you for going green.

This promotion is available for a limited time only and may end without warning. Ticket must have been paid for in advance. Not valid on comp tickets. More information available at writerstheatre.org/metra

WRITERS THEATRE PARTNERS

Writers Theatre is pleased to recognize BMO Harris Bank as the Season Sponsor and ComEd as the Official Lighting Sponsor of the 2019/20 Season. The Major Corporate Sponsor is Northern Trust.  The Lead Sponsor is Mary Pat Studdert and the Artists Council Sponsors are Susan and Don Belgrad and John and Francesca Edwardson.

For more information about Writers Theatre’s 2019/20 partners, visit writerstheatre.org/our-supporters.

ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE

For more than 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues. 

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company’s first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architectsled by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.