Sondheim and You – It’s Complicated

Heather Jopling plays The Witch.

I have never worked as hard on a role as I have for the Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Before auditioning, I thought I was very familiar with the songs. I knew the notes. I could sing along with Bernadette Peters when we played the soundtrack in the car. The first time I tried to sing with a karaoke track, it became immediately clear that I was WRONG.

Sondheim treats his vocalists as instruments, their voices carry the melody, often with next to no accompaniment supporting that melody. For an actor-singer who relies on her ear, navigating through the Witch’s “Last Midnight” was daunting to say the least.

Sondheim will repeat a phrase six times, with one note modulated the fifth time you hear it. He reprises songs, but uses completely different lyrics when the song appears in the second act. He sets tempos that an Olympic sprinter would find challenging.

Sondheim throws down an incredibly intimidating gauntlet, but if you’re willing to do the work? You’ll have the opportunity to bring roles to life that are unsurpassed in musical theatre – complicated, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching characters who will leave an indelible mark on you. And, if you’ve done the work, your audience.

Into the Woods plays at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre February 24 – March 5, 2023. Grab your tickets today!