Dream Academy will be presenting Stephen Sondheim's classic musical Into the Woods, opening from 29 July to 7 August at the Esplanade Theatre and featuring an all-star cast including Selena Tan, Adrian Pang, Sebastian Tan, Emma Yong, Denise Tan, George Chan, Lim Kay Siu, RJ Rosales and Robin Goh, together with Ria Jones (London West End: Chess, Cats, Les Miserables; Singapore: A Twist of Fate) and Sheila Francisco (London West End: South Pacific; Singapore: The Full Monty). Here's more information and quotes from the cast and director Glen Goei:
A WITCH, A SPELL AND WISHES COME TRUE:
DREAM ACADEMY’S BRAND NEW ADVENTURE INTO THE WOODS!
Dream Academy brings Into The Woods, the TONY AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, to the Esplanade Theatre for the first time! Featuring a stellar cast of musical theatre talents from Singapore, the region and London’s West End, Into The Woods is Dream Academy’s tribute to the classic Broadway musical.
The cast list reads like a dream: household names in the local theatre scene, as well as Ria Jones (London West End: Chess, Cats, Les Miserables; Singapore: A Twist of Fate) and Sheila Francisco (London West End: South Pacific; Singapore: The Full Monty), who have each earned acclaim with roles in West End productions.
Ria plays the chameleon role of the Witch, originated by the award-winning Bernadette Peters on Broadway. Ria was last seen in A Twist of Fate in Singapore, as heroine Emma West. Sheila Francisco recently brought the house down here as the hilarious Jeanette Burmeister in The Full Monty. She plays another kooky character in Into The Woods – Jack’s mother.
This new staging of Into The Woods is led by director Glen Goei, collaborating with ACADEMY AWARD-NOMINATED ART DIRECTOR, Ian Bailie (Films: Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, The Blue Mansion), who pulls double duty as set designer and overall production designer.
Into The Woods is a homecoming of sorts for some of the cast and the director. Says Glen: “I first directed ‘Into The Woods’ in 1994, when I returned from the UK. In that production, I cast a newcomer called Selena Tan in the role of Little Red Riding Hood, and Adrian Pang also a newcomer to Singapore theatre, as Jack. In this Dream Academy production, Adrian and Selena have grown into the roles of the Baker and his
Wife. It’s wonderful to see how much they’ve matured as actors. I had always wanted to revisit this classic Sondheim musical and show how relevant it still is, and to give it a fresh twist for today’s young audiences.”
Emma Yong and Sebastian Tan are not newcomers to fairy-tale character roles either, having played Cinderella and Jack previously in pantomime productions.
Says Emma: “I've always loved ‘Into The Woods’ and was thrilled when Selena told me she wanted to do it! I've played the role of Cinderella before but THIS Cinderella is different, she comes to realize in the course of the show that maybe life isn't a fairytale, relationships are complicated and perhaps what she's been dreaming of isn't actually what she really wants. She's a Cinderella that gets to grow up into a woman!”
Into The Woods will also be a reunion for Robin Goh and RJ Rosales, who play brothers again for the first time since their memorable depiction of Siamese twins, Chang and Eng. This time they will thrill and seduce as the vain Princes Charming. Ex-The Dance Floor judge, George Chan, is the one playing twin roles this time: as the character of Wolf, who lustily pursues Little Red Riding Hood, and as the production’s choreographer.
For Selena Tan, producing Into The Woods is a dream come true: “’Into The Woods’ is my all-time favourite musical! There are so many wonderful layers to the musical that I’m still discovering. Yet it is a story that has all the elements you could wish for in a musical – a riveting story, lots of action and excitement, special
effects, comedy and songs that will keep you humming for days! It is pure entertainment for the entire family!”
“This production is truly a labour of love, and we fully intend to awe the audience with an amazing set, an almost filmic lighting design and fashion-forward, whimsical costumes, hair and make up. This is a production we would be proud to invite Mr Stephen Sondheim himself to. You never know, this wish could come true - just as wishes do in ‘Into The Woods’!”