Rehearsals have been anything but ordinary for UC Irvine students preparing for their production of Stephen Sondheim's tour-de-force musical "Into the Woods." Along with their usual blocking and memorization duties, the students studied with and performed for their heroes over the last few weeks.
Joanna Gleason, who won a Tony Award for her origination of the sardonic, world-weary Baker's Wife in the fairy tale's original Broadway production of 1987, stopped by the Claire Trevor School of the Arts to give a master class and watch the students perform a song from the show. Gleason was effusive in her praise as the students finished.
"It was really overwhelming to meet her in person. I'm not gonna lie. She is the Baker's Wife, and I know that this role was created for her, so to go up there and sing her song … I hope she was pleased with what I did," said Kagiso Alicia Paynter, who follows in Gleason's footsteps to play the Baker's Wife in the UCI production.