Joanna Gleason, the Canadian, Tony Award-winning musical theatre actress who originated the role of the Baker’s Wife in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, has just done an interview with BroadwayWorld in which she admits that Into the Woods was her favourite musical of the ones in which she’s appeared. On Broadway, these total only two – Nick and Nora and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – but the singer-actress has performed in musicals since her schooldays at Beverly Hills High School. It’s an interesting read and , although there’s no other mention of Into the Woods, Gleason also mentions other Sondheim roles she would like to do and roles she would like to have done:
I’m gonna wait around and play Mme. Armfeldt one of these days. Probably sooner than later. I love that. I’m pretty happy with the role I played, the Baker’s Wife. And of course there’s any number of roles in Company when I was younger that would have been fun to do. Desirée would have been fun to do. Actually, Mrs. Lovett would have been fun to do, but I don’t…you know, I’ll tell you something, there’s a difference between being able to do something on stage – many of those roles, I know that I could do – but there’s also brilliant casting and I don’t know that in some of the roles I’d be brilliant casting, but I’d be terrific casting, do you know what I’m saying? There is something that I’ve begun to know in the last ten years about what I’m right for and what I would just be good in, but there are roles that you’d be right for and not right for, not more right for than somebody else.
Age-wise, is it realistic to think that only Mme. Armfeldt is left for her? She’s 60 – but she certainly didn’t look it in the Sondheim birthday concert last year and I think she could still do a marvelous Mrs Lovett (and, come to that, a lovely Desiree) in the right setting. Maybe she feels that a role like Mrs Lovett would be too physically taxing for her or something like that? What about Follies – I could see her being great in a role in that show.
I have to agree with you. If Bernadette or Judi could play Desiree, than so could she. And I think she’s a little young for Madame – maybe for the next revival though…
I don’t think she’s out of the question for Joanne in Company either.