The planned gala performances of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (See News, 27 Jun 2006) - which were to be presented, for two performances only, at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 22 October 2006 - have been postponed. The event, which was to be held in aid of the Children’s Society to celebrate the charity’s 125th anniversary, has been delayed due to professional commitments of some of the anticipated artists involved.

Producer Paul Savident said: “We had been anticipating a number of artistes to be available for the rehearsal period and on 22 October, and now professional commitments have made these artistes’ presence unlikely. As we are determined to present Into the Woods as a truly special event for the Children’s Society, we have decided to postpone the performances. A new date for the event will be confirmed shortly.”

Those who have already booked for the event will be fully refunded – theatregoers should contact their relevant ticket agencies if they did not book through the Royal Albert Hall box office - and will be contacted once a future date is confirmed.

Previously announced cast members Anita Dobson, Vinnie Jones, Laura Michelle Kelly and Joanna Riding are still expected to star in the gala once it is rescheduled. Pop star Madonna had also been rumoured to be in talks to appear (See The Goss, 7 Sep 2006).

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 musical, which features a different take from the composer and lyricist and book writer James Lapine – with whom Sondheim also wrote Passion and Sunday in the Park with George, recently revived in the West End care of the Menier Chocolate Factory - on the idea of “happily ever after”.

The original Broadway production of Into the Woods opened in November 1989 and ran for 764 performances at the Martin Beck Theater, directed by Lapine. The show opened in London in September 1990 at the West End’s Phoenix Theatre, where it ran until 23 February 1991. Joe Harmston was due to direct the Children’s Society performances, for which tickets were priced from £20 to £100.

- by Caroline Ansdell