Tony-winning TV and stage star Neil Patrick Harris has joined the cast of the upcoming New York City Center Encores! production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods. The Hedwig and the Angry Inch star replaces the previously announced Christian Borle as The Baker for the production, running May 4-15.
A Tony winner for his performance in the 2014 revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Harris' Broadway credits include Proof, Cabaret, and Assassins. The How I Met Your Mother star also hosted the Tony Awards twice, in 2011 and 2012.
Harris joins a cast that includes Heather Headley as the Witch; Sara Bareilles as the Baker's Wife; Julia Lester as Little Red; Jordan Donica as Rapunzel's Prince; Shereen Pimentel as Rapunzel; Cole Thompson as Jack; Denée Benton as Cinderella; Gavin Creel as the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince; Annie Golden as Cinderella's Mother, Grandmother, and the Giant's Wife; Ann Harada as Jack's Mother; David Patrick Kelly as the Narrator and Mysterious Man; Tiffany Denise Hobbs as Lucinda; Brooke Ishibashi as Floridna; Kennedy Kanagawa as Milky White; Lauren Mitchell as Cinderella's Stepmother; and David Turner as the Steward.
Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet will helm the production, with choreography by Lorin Latarro and music direction by Rob Berman.
With a book and direction by Lapine and a score by Sondheim, Into the Woods originally opened at Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre November 5, 1987, playing 765 performances before closing September 3, 1989. The original Broadway company boasted Bernadette Peters, Chip Zien, Robert Westenberg, Joanna Gleason, Tom Aldredge, Barbara Bryne, Kim Crosby, Chuck Wagner, and Ben Wright. The musical won Tonys for Best Book, Best Score, and Best Actress in a Musical (Gleason). The 2002 revival—starring Vanessa Williams, Laura Benanti, Stephen DeRosa, Gregg Edelman, Kerry O'Malley, and Christopher Sieber—played 18 previews and 279 regular performances at the Broadhurst Theatre. Meryl Streep headed the cast of the film version.
The Sondheim score features such tunes as "Agony," "On the Steps of the Palace," "Children Will Listen," "Giants in the Sky," "No One Is Alone," and the title tune.