As previously tipped, Hannah Waddingham, who was Whatsonstage.com and Olivier nominated for last year’s Menier Chocolate Factory production of A Little Night Music, will return to the work of Stephen Sondheim this summer as part of the year-long celebrations for the American composer/lyricist’s 80th birthday.

Waddingham plays the Witch in Into the Woods, alongside fellow Sondheim and Menier veteran Jenna Russell, who won an Olivier for Sunday in the Park with George in the West End and then transferred with the show to Broadway, as the Baker’s wife in the new production at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, which is directed by artistic director Timothy Sheader and runs from 11 August to 11 September 2010 (previews from 5 August).

Other company members so far confirmed include: Marc Antolin, Valda Aviks, Billy Boyle, Gaye Brown, Sophie Caton, Alice Fearn, Mark Goldthorp, Amy Griffiths, Mark Hadfield, Amy Ellen Richardson, Ben Stott and Gemma Wardle.

Well-known storybook characters Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel are joined by a new creation, the tale of The Baker and His Wife, in the 1989 Broadway musical, which brings a dark and contemporary adult view to the childhood idea of “happily ever after”. Sondheim and Into the Woods book writer James Lapine also collaborated on Sunday in the Park with George and Passion, which is revived at the Donmar Warehouse in September.


Into the Woods is the final production in the Open Air’s 2010 summer season. The season opens with Sheader’s production of Arthur Miller’s 1953 drama The Crucible, running from performances from 2 to 19 June 2010 (previews from 24 May). Set in 1692 in Massachusetts, The Crucible centres on the reign of terror unleashed during the Salem witchcraft trials, Miller’s thinly veiled metaphor for the 20th-century \"anti-American\" communist witch-hunts of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Patrick O\'Kane stars as John Proctor, with Emma Cunniffe as his wife Elizabeth Proctor, Emily Taaffe as his accuser Abigail and Oliver Ford-Davies as the deputy governor Danforth. Also in the cast are: Lucy May Barker, Charlie Cameron, Philip Cumbus, Anni Domingo, Susan Engel, Christopher Fulford, Patrick Godfrey, Christopher Hunter, Bettrys Jones, Paul Kemp, Geoff Leesley, Alexandra Mathie, Gary Milner, Ellie Paskell, Malcolm Rogers.

The Park’s main Shakespeare this year is The Comedy of Errors, running from 29 June to 31 July 2010 (previews from 24 June), directed by Philip Franks and featuring Daniel Weyman and Daniel Llewelyn-Williams as Antipholus of Syracuse and Ephesus respectively, and Anna-Jane Casey, who will play the Courtesan while fronting a live swing band. Also in the cast are: Jo Herbert, Alister Cameron, Josh Cohen, Joseph Kloska, Christopher Logan, Christopher Ravenscroft, Sophie Roberts, Veronica Roberts, David Shaw-Parker, Richard Warrick, Faye Winter.

The Comedy of Errors will run in rep, from 9 to 31 July 2010 (previews from 3 July) with this year’s family show, a Macbeth re-imagined for six years and up and directed by Steve Marmion. It will star Simon Trinder as Macbeth, Golda Rosheuvel as Lady Macbeth and Josephine Butler as Banquo.