Rehearsals have just begun for Into the Woods, offering an intriguing glimpse behind the scenes as Opera North and the West Yorkshire Playhouse combine their talents to stage Sondheim's darkly comic tale.
As the story unfolds, characters from several well-known fairytales cross paths and discover that it pays to be careful what you wish for — and that ‘Happily Ever After’ is only the beginning.
Directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining and performed by 24 singers from the Chorus of Opera North, the production is the first major collaboration between the two leading northern arts organisations. The costumes and set have been designed by Colin Richmond, who worked with James Brining on last year’s critically-acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street for Welsh National Opera, while James Holmes, previously Head of Music at Opera North, conducts. A keen advocate of American musical theatre, James also conducted Sweeney Todd (WNO) and Carousel (Opera North).
Casting makes the most of the vocal versatility and dramatic ability of the members of the Chorus of Opera North. Playing Cinderella is Gillene Butterfield who starred as Julie Jordan in Opera North's production of Carousel in 2012 and 2015, while Jack is Nicholas Watts, who recently played Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville (2015) and Ferrando in Così fan tutte (2016). Claire Pascoe (Ralph, Kiss Me, Kate, 2015) plays the Witch, Dean Robinson and Louise Collett play the Baker and Baker's Wife, and Helen Évora is Little Red Riding Hood. Into the Woods also features a young company who have been brought together especially for the production.
Into the Woods runs at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 2 – 25 June, with matinee performances on Thursday 9, Thursday 16 and Saturday 25 June, and a post show discussion after the evening performance on Thursday 16 June. To book tickets or for more information, visit the Into the Woods webpage or call 0113 213 7700.
Chorus of Opera North.
Dean Robinson as Baker and Director James Brining.
Cordelia Fish as Florinda, Miranda Bevin as Stepmother and Anna Barry as Lucinda.
Nick Watts as Jack, Hazel Croft as Jack's Mother and Gillene Butterfield as Cinderella.
Photography: Manuel Harlan