Preview: Katy Geraghty & Cast of ‘Into the Woods’ at the Ahmanson Theatre

(L-R) Gavin Creel and Katy Geraghty in the Broadway production of "Into the Woods," which will play at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA between June 27th and July 30th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (with book by James Lapine) may have originally gotten out of the gates in 1987, but, as the classic adage goes, what’s old is new again. This is evidenced by an incredibly well-received 2022 revival, the musical’s second one overall, the first one transpiring twenty years earlier in 2002. The current revival has not only reenergized the musical, with six Tony nominations to show for it, but has helped resuscitate the Broadway box office, from one sold-out house to the next, in its six-month duration.

Coming out of the doldrums of the pandemic, there was certainly a market for escapism — perhaps none better than the fabled, interwoven, and wish-driven story of Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, a Baker and his Wife — which throngs heartily gravitated towards in the Big Apple. Another possible reason for the success of this Lear deBessonet-directed rendition of Into the Woods, featuring Lorin Latarro’s choreography and Rob Berman’s music expertise, is the timing; that is, the creator of this renowned work, Sondheim, sadly passed away only months before the Broadway revival kicked off, imbuing the production with a renewed meaning. As theatres across the country have dutifully celebrated the life of maybe the greatest musical composer who ever lived, this revival has a compelling argument for being the flag-bearing leader among all the odes.

Gavin Creel in the Broadway production of Into the Woods, which will play at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA starting on June 27th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

Certainly, the all-star cast in New York, a veritable who’s who of musical theater, which for the first months included Sara Bareilles, Brian d’Arcy James, Patina Miller, Phillipa Soo, and Julia Lester, didn’t hurt either. When Stephanie J. Block became The Baker’s Wife, her real-life husband Sebastian Arcelus took on The Baker, Montego Glover inhabited The Witch, Diane Phelan became Cinderella, Katy Geraghty inherited Little Red Riding Hood, and Gavin Creel along with Commando’s David Patrick Kelly continued their roles as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf and the Narrator/Mysterious Man, respectively, fans remained in good hands with an astonishing star power that remained unwaveringly impressive.

However, with demand still sky high, musical-theater lovers were not fully satiated when the Broadway run ended on January 8th of this year, necessitating an extension of sorts, but not in Manhattan and instead by way of an exclusively direct-from-Broadway, ten-city national tour. With Block, Arcelus, Glover, Phelan, Creel, Geraghty, and Kelly, along with nearly everyone else reprising their roles, Into the Woods has continued be the hottest ticket in town, with the production’s very last stop being in Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre from June 27th through July 30th. Not to mention, it’s quite the “get” for Center Theatre Group, which is expected to see a big boost after sadly announcing the complete surcease of all productions at the Mark Taper Forum.

In anticipation of one of L.A.’s hottest opening nights in recent history, Katy Geraghty, who has amassed other spectacular credits to her name such as Groundhog Day on Broadway and & Juliet (pre-Broadway), spoke with LAexcites about portraying Little Red Riding Hood and how her performance might differ from Lester’s Tony-nominated turn, the pressure of living up to the hype of the show while on tour, her relationship with her costars, what she attributes this production’s triumphs to, and if there’s ultimately any chance the revival will continue in some form.

Stephanie J. Block in the Broadway production of Into the Woods, which will play at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA from June 27th through July 30th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

My first question for you is how did you initially get the part of Little Red Riding Hood?

Geraghty: For me, this was a very fast process. I was in the cast of & Juliet, now on Broadway, during its pre-Broadway Toronto run. I was in Canada during the entirety of Into the Woods being cast. I got a self-tape request from my agent, and included some scenes, sent that off, did two shows that day, then had a Zoom meeting with the director [deBessonet] for a callback, and was apparently cast when I hung up. I was doing jukebox hits from the early 2000s, so there was a sense of whiplash I immediately felt in the contrast between the two shows. I had to take off my makeup in between the & Juliet shows; I had pink smoky eyes with space buns, before putting my hair in pigtails [for the Into the Woods audition], and then dressing up to do & Juliet again that same night [laughs].

When did you precisely replace Julia Lester in the role, and how would you say your performance might differ from hers?

Geraghty: My first performance was on September 4th [2022], I believe. I think Julia is so dry in her comedy, and she has a bit of a lower speaking voice than me, so she can go into this delicious monotone and sarcastic dry wit, whereas my [portrayal] is more on the snarky end. Funny enough, I was looking at a picture of Gavin and I, and it’s the same shot from Broadway, but whereas [Lester] is looking at him with a quirked eyebrow, I’m looking at him with a scowl [laughs]. People at the stage door always say I’m so sassy, and it comes naturally, so there is a lot of me in the character [laughs].

One of the best things I’ve heard in regard to replacing someone in a Broadway cast is ‘You’re given an outline of something you’re allowed to color in however you want.’ I hadn’t seen Into the Woods because I was in Canada for the summer, so the first time I saw the Broadway production of the show was three days after rehearsal, and I’m glad I did it in that timeline, because in the first few days I could give my own instincts to it before watching it and shadowing Julia. I struck a happy medium of fitting into what she’s done while making it my own.

Montego Glover in the Broadway production of Into the Woods, which will play at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA starting on June 27th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

Even though it lasted only six months, the Broadway run was a juggernaut across the board. Not every show is received this way. Are you surprised by the reception, and what do you primarily attribute it to? The material and the fact it’s somewhat of a celebration of the late Stephen Sondheim? The star power?

Geraghty: I think this show comes when people need it the most. The first time it was on Broadway [1987], it was during the AIDS crisis, in 2002 it was on the heels of 9/11, and now it comes after what we’ve experienced [Covid] in the last three years. It’s one of those shows that begs to come around; it teaches about life. I have made Little Red a lifelong career of mine, as the first time I played her was as a 9-year-old in Boston, and now I’m in my fifth run. You’d think there would be nothing left to learn, but that’s not true. During every season of life, and one’s formative years, you might perceive the character differently. If you have loss, marital or relationship issues, or you’re a kid, that’s what comes across and meets you where you are.

I was just saying to someone that at the end of the show, with Jack, Cinderella, Little Red, and The Baker — that’s a bit of a spoiler [laughs] — there is a dysfunctional little family unit. We look at each other in the end, and realize they’re not what we wanted, but what we have. Coming out of the pandemic, that resonates more than ever and the lack of everyone on stage at that moment has never been more keenly felt.

(L-R) Kennedy Kanagawa and Cole Thompson in the Broadway production of Into the Woods, which will play at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA from June 27th through July 30th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

While this production is a direct transfer, featuring just about everyone who was on Broadway, would you say there has been pressure to live up to the hype outside of New York? If so, how have you and the rest of the cast dealt with the expectations?

Geraghty: There will always be weighty expectations when you put the word ‘Broadway’ in front of anything. I’ve felt the expectations, but the nice thing is, this is a family. When we were accepting tour offers, we were doing the Broadway run, and had discussions and made the choice as a group. In doing that, we decided we weren’t just going to be co-workers for the next six months but be on the road with and for each other.

Overall, when you need someone, I will be the person that is there for you; I’ll hug you when your feelings are hurt and share your nerves with you if a relative is seeing the show. It’s amounted to a mutual agreement, decided on as a team, which has made the expectations feel much lighter because we’re not doing it alone. We ebb and flow, too, with who is spending time with whom and who’s living with whom in a fun, ever-changing amoeba, and each city feels different with our solid safety net in place.

(L-R) Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus in the Broadway production of Into the Woods, which will play at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA from June 27th through July 30th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

I’m sure you’ve had long-running relationships now with many of your Into the Woods costars, many of whom have stellar reputations that precede them. That said, have you been blown away by one or more of your castmates, personally and/or professionally?

Geraghty: I mean, all the time! [laughs]. I will say this about the cast: they are more kind than they are talented, and that’s really saying something. They are such kind, wonderful people and I’ve been blown away by them personally, over and over again. Professionally, it’s been unbelievable to work with titans of the industry that I’m onstage with.

When joining the Broadway cast, the first day or two were isolated with fittings, consultations, and learning music. When I walked into music rehearsal the first time, I was a little early, and Stephanie [J. Block] was in the middle of singing ‘Moments in the Woods.’ Up until then, I was a little overwhelmed, even though I knew I belonged, but the second I heard that, I was rooted to my spot and wondering what I was doing there [laughs]. That was a moment that blew me away, which continues as I listen to her sing the song on a nightly basis.

With Gavin Creel, I’ve never seen anyone do the Prince the way he has. Sebastian, The Baker, is The Baker as a human being — and I love that about him, and he can translate that on stage in a beautiful way. And Montego, she’s so talented, what a beautiful woman! I love that her Witch and my Red are on stage, and I get to watch her. I have to act terrified, but inside I’m fan-girling [laughs].

Would you say there’s one castmate in particular you’ve gotten really close to?

Geraghty: That’s hard to say; they’re all so great. I don’t think I won’t be able to not be around Gavin Creel because he won’t let that happen! [laughs]. There’s a lovely family-type connection with Steph and Sebastian, and I’m grateful to have that manifest on stage. It’s lovely to go through that, and even say I’ve been a guest in their home. I hope to be in these people’s lives our whole lives. They’re so delicious to watch in their smaller moments on stage, especially when they don’t think anyone is watching, and I try to catch their eye.

The company of Broadway’s Into the Woods, which will play at at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, CA from June 27th through July 30th. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

It seems everyone is really supportive and enjoying each other’s company.

Geraghty: Absolutely! For instance, there’s plenty of things that could go wrong, with props and timing, between Red and Wolf, but Gavin is a goofball, and if something goes not as planned, we can just laugh about it.

During ‘Giants in the Sky,’ everyone else is in the backstage crossover doing the electric slide. In the finale, which includes me onstage, everyone else backstage is silently acting out a scenario, Charades-style, for Stephanie, who will have to guess what’s being mimed as she’s briefly walking backstage. Statistically, she’s very good at guessing correctly [laughs].

These are like little rituals you and your castmates take part in?

Geraghty: Yep! [laughs]

Lastly, is there any chance this little tour of Into the Woods will be extended, or is the Ahmanson Theatre truly the last destination on the itinerary?

Geraghty: You know what, I don’t know. I’ve heard so many rumblings, so many different, varying rumors about different things [laughs]. People really love it, and having a limited engagement is a lovely thing since it’s a passing thing so people buy tickets and show up, but it also begs the question if we did it long enough. There’s a world in which it should keep going, and there’s a world where we should leave it alone.

For more information on Into the Woods at the Ahmanson Theatre (June 27th – July 30th), and to purchase tickets, please visit


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