Step “Into the Woods” with actor Jason Forbach (Rapunzel’s Prince)
We ventured "Into The Woods" last night. Find out more from our interview with Jason Forbach!
For nearly forty years, Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” has enchanted audiences with its melodies, wit, theatricality, and singularly empathetic perspective on fairy tale characters.
Last year, the show returned to Broadway, casting its spell on a new generation of theatergoers, and earning 6 Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Musical.
Now, that same revival steps into the Dr. Phillips Center, boasting 17 out of 18 cast members from its most recent Broadway run; an exceedingly rare accomplishment for a touring production.
Jason Forbach, the actor who plays Rapunzel’s Prince, has been under the musical’s spell far before he was cast in the revival. We invited him to let down his hair for a conversation about life on tour and what gives “Into the Woods” its timeless magic.
Enjoying The Experience?
First of all, congratulations, there’s been so much praise from both critics and audiences for this revival. Have you been enjoying the experience?
It’s been this endless stream of blessings. This whole show began last April as a two-week concert at City Center [in New York], so the fact that almost a year and a half later we are still performing to enthusiastic audiences all over the country is something we never would have conceived of. It’s all gratefulness.
All About Touring
Touring is obviously a very different experience from performing at the same venue during an entire run of a show, are you enjoying that challenge?
I love touring. I love really sitting down in cities for a stretch of time and getting to know them.
What’s really great about this tour is nearly the entire closing night cast of the Broadway show is here, which is so incredibly rare. So audiences all over the country are getting to see exactly what the show was like on Broadway.
Orlando Bucket List?
Is there anything you are hoping to do while here in Orlando?
This morning, I got up and made a pot of coffee and just read a book in the pool. And for the New Yorker in me, that’s the dream. Just let me bake in the sun.
What Draws Audiences?
Into the Woods was first performed in front of an audience in 1987. Why do think modern audiences are still so captivated by this show?
You know there are several things I think at play with why this particular production of “Into the Woods” has struck such a chord with audiences. This was the last production Sondheim was involved with creatively, in its preproduction casting, so there’s a little bit of honoring his genius, his memory, his contribution to the art. There’s a little bit of reverence and honor in that.
But it’s also such a beautiful story: All these Grimm’s fairy tale characters searching for what they wish, only to realize that those childhood wishes have greater adult ramifications.
There’s also an incredible amount of humor. There are beautiful melodies, there’s complicated emotions. It’s just so deep and rewarding and it leaves people laughing and crying and feeling profoundly moved.
[Coming out of the pandemic], I think that’s we’ve all been missing, is a sense of getting together in a room and feeling those things together.
New To Into The Woods
One last question for you: How would you describe “Into the Woods” for someone who might be unfamiliar with it?
It is a show that can appeal to someone who is 6 or 7 all the way to someone who is 70, 80, or 90. It has something to say to someone at every stage of life. It’s a musical with very adult themes wrapped in this storybook setting, and it has always had such a profound effect on me. It was the show that made me want to be in music theater.
At our final day at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, where we opened the tour, I saw a grandmother holding hands with her granddaughter dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, with the cape and the basket. I took a picture of them as they were entering the theater and sent it to the cast, and said, “We just have no idea how many people this show can affect and change and inspire.”
“Into the Woods” runs June 6 – 11, 2023 at the Dr. Phillips’s Center’s Walt Disney Theater, showtimes vary. For information or tickets, visit drphillipscenter.org or call 407-358-6603.