Exactly 26 years ago, Joanna Gleason was completing her first week of previews in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s fairytale-inspired musical Into the Woods. Gleason went on to win a 1988 Best Actress Tony Award for her funny yet grounded portrayal of the Baker’s Wife, and she’s currently prepping an autobiographical cabaret show debuting on October 9 at 54 Below. During a recent chat with Broadway.com, the stage favorite sounded an enthusiastic note about Rob Marshall’s long-awaited film version of Into the Woods.
“The movie is in great hands,” Gleason said. “I think the casting of Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife is brilliant. I’m a huge fan of hers. All of us are very possessive of that material, but I’ve seen so many productions of it since I was in it, and they’ve all been terrific. I’m very excited to see the movie.“
The Broadway vet laughed when asked what advice she would offer Blunt, who co-stars with Tony winner James Corden as the Baker and Meryl Streep (in a Devil Wears Prada reunion) as the Witch. “I would say, ‘Honey, you don’t have to ask anyone for advice!’ She is a majorly gifted actress, and I would just tell her to follow her instincts.”
For more from Gleason on her forthcoming cabaret shows (with additional dates on October 16 and 23), check back on Broadway.com on October 7 for a What’s Up? Interview. For now, savor this clip of Gleason and her Broadway co-star and “close friend” Chip Zien performing “Maybe They’re Magic” in Into the Woods, which was preserved on video for American Playhouse.