Playbill has learned exclusively that Into the Woods Tony winner Joanna Gleason will narrate MasterVoice's upcoming concert of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' Anyone Can Whistle, set for March 10 at Carnegie Hall. Gleason joins a cast led by Vanessa Williams, and also including Santino Fontana, Elizabeth Stanley, Douglas Sills, Eddie Cooper, and Michael Mulheren as previously announced.
The one-night-only event will also be recorded, with hopes for future release.
Gleason returns to her roots joining the seldom-seen Sondheim-Laurents musical, having created the role of the Baker's Wife in Sondheim's Into the Woods and Nora Charles in Nick & Nora, the latter of which featured a book and direction by Laurents. She was last seen on Broadway in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Led by MasterVoices Artistic Director Ted Sperling as both conductor and director, the concert presentation will see Williams starring as Cora Hoover Hooper, the mayor of a struggling town who concocts a fake miracle to make headlines and attract tourists. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1964 with a cast led by Angela Lansbury, running just 21 performances. Though seldom performed today, the Sondheim score introduced a number of songs that have become Sondheim favorites, including "There Won't Be Trumpets," "Anyone Can Whistle," "Everybody Says Don't," and "With So Little to Be Sure Of."
Sperling heads a creative team for the event that includes choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, lighting designer Aaron Tacy, sound designer Marc Salzberg, and costume coordinator Tracy Christensen.
"MasterVoices mourns the recent passing of the irreplaceable Stephen Sondheim," shared Sperling in an earlier statement. "Steve was a friend, a great colleague, and a mentor. He was delighted we were revisiting Anyone Can Whistle, which has one of his favorite songs, ‘With So Little to Be Sure Of,’ and he had agreed to help us with the project. ... [W]e know his spirit will be with us as we bring his and Arthur's work back to the stage."
MasterVoices' 2021-2022 season concludes this June with Songs For a Summer Night, set to feature Tariq Al-Sabir and West Side Story star Shereen Pimentel. The date and venue for this concert will be announced in the coming weeks.
Limited tickets for Anyone Can Whistle are available at CarnegieHall.org.